Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 57–69

Nutrient content of the edible leaves of seven wild plants from Niger

  • C.E. Freiberger
  • D.J. Vanderjagt
  • A. Pastuszyn
  • R.S. Glew
  • G. Mounkaila
  • M. Millson
  • R.H. Glew
Article

Abstract

Wild plants play an important role in the diet of the inhabitants of Niger. These plants tend to be drought-resistant and are gathered both in times of plenty as well as times of need. Used in everyday cooking, famine foods may be an important source of nutrients. The goal of this study was to investigate the nutritional role of wild plants in the nigérien diet. To this end, leaves of seven plants species were analyzed for their mineral, amino acid and fatty acid contents: Ximenia americana, Amaranthus viridus, Corchorus tridens, Hibiscus sabdarifa, Maerua crassifolia, Moringa oleifera, and Leptadenia hastata. Ximenia americana} contained large amounts of calcium. Large quantities of iron were present in Amaranthus viridus. All seven plants contained significant amounts of selenium and phosphorus. Corchorus tridens contained the most protein (19–25% dry weight), and its composition compared favorably to the World Health Organization's standard for essential amino acids. Moringa oleifera contained 17% protein and compared favorably with the WHO standard. Corchorus tridens contained the largest amounts of the two essential fatty acids linoleic and α-linolenic acids. These results reinforce the growing awareness that wild edible plants of the Western Sahel can contribute useful amounts of essential nutrients, including amino acids, fatty acids and trace minerals, to human diets.

Famine foods Niger Nutrition Trace minerals Western Sahel Wild plant foods 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Humphrey CM, Clegg MS, Keen CL, Grivetti LE (1993) Food diversity and drought survival: The Hausa example. Int J Food Sci and Nutr 44: 1–16.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ross PJ, Etkin NL, Muazzamu I (1996) A changing Hausa diet. Medical Anthropology 17: 143–163.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wilson A (1989) Gathered foods in West Africa: A neglected component of village food economy. MS thesis, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Smith GC, Clegg MS, Keen CL, Grivetti LE (1995) Mineral values of selected plant foods common to southern Burkino Faso and to Niamey, Niger, West Africa. Int J Food Sci and Nutr 46: 1–13.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Becker B (1893) The contribution of wild plants to human nutrition in the Ferlo (northern Senegal). Agroforestry Systems 1: 257–267.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Nordeide MB, Holm H, Oshang A (1996) Nutrient composition and protein quality of wild gathered foods from Mali. Int J Food Sci and Nutr 45: 275–286.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nordeide MB, Hatloy A, Folling M, Lied E, Oshang A, (1996) Nutrient composition and nutritional importance of green leaves and wild food resources in an agricultural district, Koutiala, in Southern Mali. Int J Food Sci and Nutr 47: 455–468.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yazzie D, VanderJagt DJ, Pastuszyn A, Okolo A, Glew RH (1994) The amino acid and mineral content of Baobab (Adansonia digitataL.) leaves. J Food Sci and Nutr 7: 189- 193.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bindlingmeyer BA, Cohen SA, Tarvin TL (1984) Rapid analysis of amino acids using pre-column derivitization. J Chromatogr 336: 93–104.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kim TR, Pastuszyn A, VanderJagt DJ, Glew RS, Millson M, Glew RH (1997) The nutritional composition of seeds from Boscia senegalensis(Dilo) from the Republic of Niger. J Food Comp and Anal 10: 73–81.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    WHO/FAO (1973) Report: Energy and Protein Requirements. Geneva: World Health Organization, WHO Technical Report Series, No 522.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    National Research Council, Food and Nutrition Board (1989) Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Scariano JK, Walter EA, Glew RH, Hollis BW, Henry A, Ocheke I, Isichei CO (1995) Serum levels of the pyridinoline crosslinked carboxyterminal telopeptides of type 1 collagen (ICTP) and osteocalcin in rachitic children in Nigeria. Clin Biochem 28: 541–545.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rotruck JT (1973) Selenium: biochemical role as a component of glutathione peroxidase. Science 179: 588–590.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rice-Evans CA, Packer L (1998) Flavonoids in health and disease. New York: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.E. Freiberger
    • 1
  • D.J. Vanderjagt
    • 1
  • A. Pastuszyn
    • 1
  • R.S. Glew
    • 2
  • G. Mounkaila
    • 2
  • M. Millson
    • 3
  • R.H. Glew
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of New Mexico School of MedicineAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.National Institute of Occupational Safety and HealthCincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations