Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 183–191 | Cite as

Nutritive characterization of purslane accessions as influenced by planting date

  • Michael O. Ezekwe
  • Thomas R. Omara-Alwala
  • Tadesse Membrahtu


The uniqueness of purslane (Portulaca spp.) asthe richest vegetable source of omega-3 (ω-3)fatty acids is well documented. However, purslane hasnot been domesticated or fully evaluated for itsnutritive value. The objective of this study was todetermine the influence of planting date on chemicalcomposition of purslane accessions. Eight accessionsfrom different geographical locations were planted 12days apart, and whole plants harvested at full bloom. Chemical analysis (DM basis) of leaves showedsignificant differences among varieties for all thecharacteristics measured. Accession by planting dateinteraction influenced (p < 0.05) levels of crudeprotein, total lipids, and carbohydrate contents. Wild Greek accession had the highest, while aBeltsville (Maryland) wild type had the lowest crudeprotein content (27.1 vs 20.5%) at the secondplanting date. Crude protein, lipid and ash levelswere most influenced (p < 0.05) by planting date. Total lipids varied from 4.0–5.8% and 3.7–5.1% forthe first and second planting dates, respectively. Selected fatty acid content indicated significantly(p < 0.05) higher levels of 18: 2ω6, and18: 3ω3 in the Dutch Garden accession comparedwith other varieties. The Egyptian wild accession hadthe lowest level of 18: 3ω3. The ratio of ω3 to ω6 acids, which ranged from 5.5 to22.3 indicated a highnutritive value of purslane compared to other oilcrops such as soybeans and perrilla. The high levelsof protein in purslane compete with those of othercommercially important vegetable crops. The studyshows that, in spite of its genetic diversity, purslaneremains one of the most abundant terrestrial vegetablesources of Omega-3 fatty acids and other essentialnutrients potentially beneficial for humans as well asanimals.

Omega-3 fatty acids Planting dates Portulaca oleracea Protein Purslane 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael O. Ezekwe
    • 1
  • Thomas R. Omara-Alwala
    • 1
  • Tadesse Membrahtu
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research StationVirginia State UniversityUSA

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