The fruit of baobab (Adansonia sp.) is well known in Africa both for its medicinal properties and social uses. It is a very promising tropical fruit although it has been little investigated and exploited in Madagascar. One of the major challenges, in Africa, in the last years has been to establish the baobab as a commercial crop with an economic value. In order to know if Malagasy baobab fruits have the same potential, we proposed to study biochemical characteristics of its fruit pulp. To achieve this objective, five endemic baobab species from Madagascar and one from Côte d’Ivoire were studied. Contents in vitamin C, polyphenols, lipids, proteins and minerals were evaluated. The biochemical composition of the fruit pulp of Madagascar species was studied and compared to that of a Sudano-Sahelian species (Adansonia digitata). Results showed high variability in biochemical characteristics and mineral content between the five Malagasy species and the Sudano-Sahelian species. These data revealed that the composition and the interesting nutritional potential of the baobab pulp may be of high interest to Malagasy consumers, which would contribute to rank it as a commercial crop.
Key words: Malagasy baobab, Adansonia, biochemical composition, antioxidants activity, species discrimination.
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