African Journal of
Biotechnology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12083

Full Length Research Paper

Nutritional characterization of Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) leaves

Busani Moyo1, Patrick J. Masika2*, Arnold Hugo3 and Voster Muchenje1
1Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag 1314, Alice, 5700, South Africa. 2Agricultural and Rural Development Research Institute (ARDRI), University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa. 3Department of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, University of Free the State, P. O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 19 May 2011
  •  Published: 05 October 2011

Abstract

Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam. moringaceae) is a highly valued plant that is mostly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. It is used for food, medication and industrial purposes. The objective of the study was to assess the nutritional value of Moringa leaves of the South African ecotype. Proximate and Van Soest methods were used to determine the nutritional value of Moringa leaves. The dried leaves had crude protein levels of 30.3% and 19 amino acids. The dried leaves had the following mineral contents: calcium (3.65%), phoshorus (0.3%), magnesium (0.5%), potassium (1.5%), sodium (0.164%), sulphur (0.63%), zinc (13.03 mg/kg), copper (8.25%), manganese (86.8 mg/kg), iron (490 mg/kg) and selenium (363 mg/kg). 17 fatty acids were observed with α-Linolenic acid (44.57%) having the highest value followed by heneicosanoic (14.41%), g-linolenic (0.20%) palmiteic (0.17%) and capric acid (0.07%). Vitamin E had the highest concentration of 77 mg/100 g than beta-carotene, which had 18.5 mg/100 g in the dried leaves. The fiber content was neutral detergent fibre (NDF) (11.4%), acid detergent fibre (ADF) (8.49%), acid detergent lignin (ADL) (1.8%) and (acid detergent cellulose (ADC) (4.01%). The condensed tannins had a value of 3.2%, while total polyphenols were 2.02%. The values of amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamin profiles reflect a desirable nutritional balance.

 

Key words: South African, supplemental food, nutritional value, Moringa oleifera.

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