Nutrient and Chemical Composition of 13 Wild Plant Foods of Niger
Human populations of the western Sahel depend upon a number of wild plant foods to satisfy a substantial part of their nutritional requirements, and this dependency increases during times of drought. However, the database of the nutrient and chemical compositions of these wild plant foods is incomplete and fragmentary. Herein we report the lipid, fatty acid, amino acid, total protein and mineral content of 13 wild plant foods collected in the Republic of Niger in 1996. Four plants contained 20–29% protein on a dry wt. basis: Bombax costatum fruit, Leptadenia hastata leaves, ataruhu (Hausa name) fruit, and the seeds of Parkia biglobosa. Ataruhu leaves compared most favorably with a World Health Organization protein standard. Plants which contained substantial amounts of one or both of the essential fatty acids (linoleic andα -linolenic acids) were Capsicum spp. fruit, Parkia biglobosa seeds and Leptadenia hastata leaves. Entada africana leaves and Leptadenia hastata leaves were rich sources of calcium. Zinc concentrations were highest in the mesocarp and seeds of Hibiscus esculentus fruit. Three plants contained relatively high levels of iron: Leptadenia hastata leaves, ataruhu fruit and Entada africana leaves. These data will be of use in determining which plants should be preferentially utilized and conserved to benefit the overall nutrition of populations who inhabit the Sahel
Document Type: Short Communication
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Room 249 BMSB, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, U.S.A
Faculty of Science, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger
Center for Advanced Study of International Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, U.S.A.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH, U.S.A.
Publication date: February 1, 2000
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