Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Fatty acid, amino acid and trace mineral composition of Eleusine coracana (Pwana) seeds from northern Nigeria

  • Diane R. Fernandez
  • Dorothy J. Vanderjagt
  • Mark Millson
  • Yung-Sheng Huang
  • Lu-Te Chuang
  • Andrzej Pastuszyn
  • Robert H. Glew


In northern Nigeria the seeds of the cereal Eleusine coracana (finger millet), called ‘pwana’ by the Birom and ‘tamba’ by the Hausa, are used as a supplemental food taken in the form of tea or a porridge-like meal. Seeds were analyzed for fatty acid, amino acid and mineral contents. They contained 12 mg/g total fatty acid, 42% of which was oleic acid (C18:1n-9), 21% palmitic acid (C16:0), 25% linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) and 4% α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3). The linoleic acid/α-linolenic acid ratio (6.5:1) was within the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation (5:1 to 10:1). Although the total protein content of E. coracana was relatively low (6.9% dry weight), its protein composition compared favorably to that of the WHO standard for all of the essential amino acids except lysine. E. coracana seeds contained only 49% of the WHO ideal for lysine, but 436% of the WHO ‘ideal’ for tryptophan. In terms of mineral content, E. coracana is a useful source of calcium, phosphorous, and copper, and an excellent source of chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybedenum and selenium. These data indicate that while E. coracana does not provide a complete food source in terms of its qualitative and quantitative fat, protein or mineral contents, it does contain appreciable quantities of a number of essential nutrients that make it a useful food supplement for the people of northern Nigeria.

Eleusine coracana Essential amino acids Essential fatty acid (EFA) Finger millet Minerals Nigeria Pwana 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane R. Fernandez
    • 1
  • Dorothy J. Vanderjagt
    • 1
  • Mark Millson
    • 2
  • Yung-Sheng Huang
    • 3
  • Lu-Te Chuang
    • 3
  • Andrzej Pastuszyn
    • 1
  • Robert H. Glew
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of MedicineUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerque
  2. 2.National Institute of Occupational Health and SafetyCincinnati
  3. 3.Lipid Research Laboratory, Ross Products DivisionAbbott LaboratoriesColumbus

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