Elemental composition and nutritional value of the edible fruits of Transvaal red milkwood (Mimusops zeyheri) and impact of soil quality
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Mimusops zeyheri is widely used in traditional medicine and for nourishment. Consequently, the elemental composition, including heavy metals concentrations in M. zeyheri fruits, sampled from industrial and mining areas in Gauteng and North West Province, South Africa, was determined. The results showed soil concentrations to be in decreasing order of K > Na > Ca > Mg > Fe > Al > Zn > Mn > Cu > Cr > Sr > Pb > As > Li > Ni ≈ Co > Rb > U > Bi > Ga > Be > Tl > Mo > Ba > Ag > Cd. Geoaccumulation indices showed moderate contamination by Cd that did not accumulate in the fruits whilst principal component analysis revealed metals in soils to originate from different anthropogenic sources in the area. The plant controlled uptake of metals to meet metabolic needs and levels of toxic metals was low making the fruits suitable for human consumption, even if picked from sites close to mining areas. Nutritional value of the fruits highlighted their positive contribution to the diet and showed them to be rich in Cr and Mn.
KeywordsMimusops zeyheri Elemental composition Geoaccumulation index Principal component analysis Recommended dietary allowance
The authors acknowledge the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Council for Geoscience for financial support and laboratory facilities.
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