Effect of Farm Additives on the Potential Bioavailability of Some Nutritional Elements from Kenyan Wild Plants

  • R. MogwasiEmail author
  • D. K. Kariuki
  • Z. M. Getenga


In this study, the effects of farm additives on eight wild plants from Nyamira County, Kenya were evaluated for their release of iron, copper, calcium, potassium and magnesium. A hundred and sixty traditional medicinal practitioners were surveyed and found to use Solanum indicum, Carissa edulis, Urtica dioica, Clerodendrum myricoides, Aloe vera, Plectranthus barbatus, Bidens pilosa and Solanum mauense. Atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used to determine the total nutritional element contents in the plants while ultra filtration and physiologically based extraction tests were used to determine the release and solubility of the nutritional elements. The plants from areas with high use of farm additives were found to have statistically significant high total levels of copper from the area with no or little application. Elemental analysis of the molecular species fractions into < 3 kDa, 3–10 kDa, 10 kDa–0.45 μm and 0.45–5 μm mass fractions showed that the mass distribution of the elements in the plants depended on the element. The nutritional elements released by gastrointestinal digestion were more than those released aquatically. Farm additives had no significant effect on the levels of most nutritional elements determined and the plants can be used as mineral element supplements in the human body in addition to their therapeutic activity.


Agricultural activities Anaemia Bioavailability Fractionation Nyamira 



The authors acknowledge the assistance given by Mr. Ephantus Mwangi and Ms. Marion, the Nairobi University Chemistry Department Technicians in carrying out the analytical work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12011_2019_1855_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 597 kb)


  1. 1.
    Sitienei K, Home PG, Kamau DM, Wanyoko JK (2013) Nitrogen and potassium dynamics in tea cultivation as influenced by fertilizer type and application rates. Am J Plant Sci 4(1):59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Phuntsho S, Shon HK, Majeed T (2012) Blended fertilizers as draw solutions for fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis desalination. Environ Sci Technol 46(8):4567–4575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pacheco C, Calouro F, Vieira S (2008) Influence of nitrogen and potassium on yield, fruit quality and mineral composition of kiwifruit. Energy Environ 2:517–521Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ogundijo DS, Adetunji MT, Azeez JO, Arowolo TA, Olla NO, Adekunle AF (2015) Influence of organic and inorganic fertilizers on soil chemical properties and nutrient changes in an Alfisol of South Western Nigeria. Int J Plant Soil Sci 7(6):329–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Owuor PO, Otieno CO, Kamau DM, Wanyoko JK (2011) Effects of long-term fertilizer use on a high-yielding tea clone AHPS15/10: soil pH, mature leaf nitrogen, mature leaf and soil phosphorus and potassium. Int J Tea Sci 8(1):15–51Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Virk SS, Mullenix DK, Sharda A (2013) Case study: distribution uniformity of a blended fertilizer applied using a variable-rate spinner-disc spreader. Appl Eng Agric 29(5):627–636Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Roy RN, Finck A, Blair GJ, Tandon HLS (2006) Plant nutrition for food security. A guide for integrated nutrient management, vol. 16 of FAO Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition Bulletin, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tshivhandekano I, Mudau FN, Soundy P, Ngezimana W (2013) Effect of cultural practices and environmental conditions on yield and quality of herbal plants: prospects leading to research on influence of nitrogen fertilization, planting density and eco-physiological parameters on yield and quality of field-grown bush tea (Athrixia phylicoides DC.). J Med Plants Res 7(34):2489–2493Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Duflo E, Kremer M, Robinson J (2008) How high are rates of return to fertilizer? Evidence from field experiments in Kenya. Am Econ Rev 98(2):482–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Takahashi S, Anwar MR (2007) Wheat grain yield, phosphorus uptake and soil phosphorus fraction after 23 years of annual fertilizer application to an andosol. Field Crop Res 101(2):160–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tonitto C, Ricker-Gilbert JE (2016) Nutrient management in African sorghum cropping systems: applying meta-analysis to assess yield and profitability. Agron Sustain Dev 36(1):1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Huskisson E, Maggini S, Ruf M (2007) The role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well being. J Int Med Res 35:277–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Staubli Asobayire F, Adou P, Hurrel T (2005) Prevalence of iron deficiency with and without concurrent anaemia in population groups with high prevalence of malaria and other infection: a study in Cote d'Ivoire. Am J Clin Nutr 74:776–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    De Benoist B, McLean E, Egli I, Cogswell M (2008) Worldwide prevalence of anaemia 1993–2005- WHO Global Database on Anaemia. WHO-CDC: 48Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ogbe RJ, Adoga GI, Abu AH (2010) Antianaemic potentials of some plant extracts on phenyl hydrazine-induced anaemia in rabbits. J Med Plant Res 4:680–684Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Adedapo A, Jimoh F, Afolayan A (2011) Comparison of the nutritive value and biological activities of the acetone, methanol, and water extracts of the leaves of Bidens pilosa and Chenopodium album. Acta Pol Pharm Drug Res 68:83–92Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fraga CG, Oteiza PI (2002) Iron toxicity and antioxidant nutrients. Toxicology 180:23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bo S, Pisau E (2008) Role of dietary magnesium in cardiovascular disease prevention, insulin sensitivity and diabetes. Curr Opin Lipidol 19:50–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Killilea DW, Maier JAM (2008) A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies. Magnes Res 21:77–82Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Intawongse M, Dean JR (2008) Use of the physiologically-based extraction test to assess the oral bioaccessibility of metals in vegetable plants grown in contaminated soil. Environ Pollut 152:60–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Morgan KT (2008) Nutritional determinants of bone health. J Nutr Elder 27:3–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Williams FH (2008) Neuromuscular complications of nutritional deficiencies. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 19:125–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Theobald H (2005) Dietary calcium and health. Nutr Bull 30:237–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pele LC, Thoree V, Mustafa F, He S, Tsaprouni L, Punchard NA, Thompson RPH, Evans SM, Powell JJ (2007) Low dietary calcium modulate mucosal capase expression and increase disease activity in mice with dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. J Nutr 137:2475–2480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Navaro P, Arana G, Etxebarria N, Dean JR (2008) Evaluation of the physiologically based extraction test as an indicator of meat toxicity in mussel tissue. Anal Chim Acta 622:126–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ko EA, Han J, Jung ID, Park WS (2008) Physiological roles of K+ channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. J Smooth Muscle Res 44:65–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lambert IH, Hoffmann EK, Pedersen SF (2008) Cell volume regulation: physiology and pathophysiology. Acta Physiol 194:255–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sobotka L, Allison S, Stanga Z (2008) Basics in clinical nutrition: physiological function and deficiency states of trace elements. e-SPEN 3:259–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Guerrero-Romero F, Rodriguez-Moran M (2005) Complementary therapies for diabetes: the case for chromium, magnesium and antioxidants. Arch Med Res 36:250–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lipkin M, Newark HL (1999) Vitamin D, calcium and prevention of breast cancer: a review. J Am Coll Nutr 18:392S–397SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nischwitz V, Mogwasi R, Zor S, Kariuki DK, Getenga ZM (2017) A first comprehensive study total and hot water extractable fractions of selected elements in 19 medicinal plants from various locations in Nyamira County (Kenya). J Trace Elem Med Biol 39:54–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mogwasi R, Zor S, Kariuki DK, Getenga ZM, Nischwitz V (2018) Sequential extraction as a novel approach to compare 12 medicinal plants from Kenya regarding their potential to release chromium, manganese, zinc and copper. Biol Trace Elem Res 182(2):407–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ugwuja EI, Ugwu NC, Aloke C, Idenyi JN, Nwibo AN, Ibiam UA, Ezenkwa US (2012) Effects of glycaemic status on plasma levels of calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc in diabetic rats. Int J Diabetes Res 1:92–95Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Mogwasi R, Kariuki DK, Getenga MZ, Nischwitz V (2019) Comparison of aqueous and enzymatic extraction combination with sequential filtration for the profiling of selected trace elements in medicinal plants from Kenya. J Trace Elem Med Biol 54:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Anitha E, Praveena V, Babu NGR, Manasa P (2013) Enumeration of foliar fertilizer efficiency in India’s top commercial crop-tea. Int J Innov Res Sci Eng Technol 2(12) ISN 2319-8753Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Grimm-Wetzel P, Schonherr J (2007) Applications of calcium chloride to apple fruits increase calcium and reduce potassium concentration in peripheral layers of fruits. Erwerbs-Obstbau 49:75–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Val J, Monge E, Risco D, Blanco A (2008) Effect of pre-harvest calcium sprays on calcium concentrations in the skin and flesh of apples. J Plant Nutr 31:1889–1905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Majolagbe AO, Kuteyi V, Onwordi CT, Yusuf KA (2013) Concentration and bioavailability of iron in some selected blood-building medicinal plants in Southwest Nigeria. J Environ 2:19–24Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kiprono KP, Wanyoko JK, Kamau DM, Chepng’eno W (2010) Economics of nitrogen fertilizer use in tea. Tea 31(2):36–43Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Alikwe NCP, Ohimain IE, Omotosho MS (2014) Evaluation of the proximate, mineral, phytochemical and amino acid composition of Bidens pilosa as a potential feed/feed additive for non-ruminant livestock. Anim Vet Sci 2:18–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Adongo OS, Murungi J, Wanjau R, Ndegwa F (2012) Determination of the concentrations of zinc, magnesium and iron in some medicinal plants used by the Chuka community in Kenya. J Sci Technol 1:1–7Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Magili ST, Maina HM, Barminas JT, Maitera ON, Onen AI (2014) Study of some trace and macro elements in selected medicinal plants used in Adamawa State, Nigeria by neutron activation analysis (NAA). Peak J Med Plants Res 2(2):13–22Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Mussie S, Kareru P, Keriko J, Girmay B, Medhanie G, Semere D (2016) Profile of trace elements in selected medicinal plants used for the treatment of diabetes in Eritrea. Sci World J 2752836:1–7Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Fageria NK, Baligar VC (2005) Enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in crop production. Adv Agron 88:97–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Taylor DJ, Green NPO, Stout GW (1998) Biological science, 3rd edn. Cambridge university press, UK, pp 216–220 and 672-698Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Cadkova Z, Szakova J, Miholova D, Horakova B, Kopecky O, Krivska D, Langrova I, Tlustos P (2015) Bioaccessibilty versus bioavailability of essential (Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn) and toxic (Pb) elements from phyto hyperaccumulator Pistia stratiotes: potential risk of dietary intake. J Agric Food Chem 63:2344–2354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Murray-Kolbe LE, Beard J (2010) Iron. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR et al (eds) Encyclopedia of dietary supplements, 2nd edn. Inform Healthcare, London and New York, pp 432–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Wessling RM (2014) Iron. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler RG (eds) Modern nutrition in health and disease, 11th edn. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 176–188Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hurrell R, Egli I (2010) Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. Am J Clin Nutr 91:1461S–1467SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Piero NM, Njagi MJ, Kibiti MC, Maina D, Ngeranwa JNJ, Njagi NME, Njue MW, Gathumbi KP (2012) Trace elements content of selected Kenyan antidiabetic medicinal plants. Int J Curr Pharm Res 4:39–42Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Fernandez-Garcia E, Carvajal-Lerida I, Perez-Galvez A (2009) Invitro bioaccessibility assessment as a prediction tool of nutritional efficiency. Nutr Res 29:751–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Li SX, Deng NS (2004) Speciation analysis of iron in traditional Chinese medicine by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. J Pharm Biomed Anal 32:51–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Ramos A, Cabrera MC, Saadoun A (2012) Bioaccessibility of Se, Cu, Zn, Mn and Fe, and heme iron content in unaged and aged meat of Hereford and Braford steers fed pasture. Meat Sci 91:116–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Omolo OJ, Chahabra SC, Nyagah G (1997) Determination of iron content in different parts of herbs used traditionally for anaemia treatment in East Africa. J Ethnopharmacol 58:97–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Muregi FW, Chhabra SC, Njagi ENM, Langat-Thoruwa CC, Njue WM, Orago ASS, Omar SA, Ndiege IO (2004) Anti-plasmodial activity of some Kenyan medicinal plant extracts singly and in combination with chloroquine. Phytother Res 18:379–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryKisii UniversityKisiiKenya
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryMachakos UniversityMachakosKenya

Personalised recommendations