Plantain (Musa paradisiaca) fruit constitutes a staple food widely consumed predominantly in Africa. The peel, a major by-product, of plantain fruit is largely viewed to be of little or no significance and consequently discarded, thereby constituting a threat to the environment. It is on account of the foregoing that this study was designed to investigate the phytochemical and mineral components of both the unripe and ripe plantain peels, and possibly suggest ways for its proper utilization. This study was conducted using standard phytochemical assay procedures and the atomic absorption spectrophotometric methods. The result of the phytochemical screening showed the presence of alkaloids (3.53 ± 0.64 and 3.4 ± 0.38 g/100 g), flavonoids (0.16 ± 0.05 and 0.13 ± 0.02 g/100 g), tannins (2.18 ± 0.63 and 3.22 ± 0.82 g/100 g) and terpenoids (1.88 ± 0.24 and 1.83 ± 0.19 g/100 g) in unripe and ripe plantain peels, respectively. More so, for both the unripe and ripe plantain peels, considerable levels of Ca (176.30 ± 8.77 and 176.42 ± 8.94 mg/100 g), Na (47.37 ± 5.82 and 47.34 ± 5.72 mg/100 g), K (787.70 ± 6.20 and 787.73 ± 6.29 mg/100 g), Mg (81.60 ± 0.12 and 81.31 ± 0.31 mg/100 g), and Fe (40.95 ± 15.61 and 26.25 ± 14.80 mg/100 g) were detected in the peel samples investigated, respectively, with the unripe plantain however possessing a significantly higher level of Fe. The amount of Pb (0.4 ± 0.02 mg/100 g) and (0.023 ± 0.01 mg/100 g) for unripe and ripe, respectively, were significantly low (P < 0.05) to engender any deleterious consequences. This study therefore demonstrates that, the often undervalued plantain peels contain a substantial amount of mineral elements, phytochemicals and an infinitesimal level of toxicants. The peels, as a result, could be further processed and utilized as nutraceuticals in food and animal feeds.
Key words: Mineral elements, phytochemicals, plantain peels.
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