African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 804

Full Length Research Paper

Nutritional contents of Balanites aegyptiaca and its contribution to human diet

Debela Hunde Feyssa
  • Debela Hunde Feyssa
  • Jimma University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma, Ethiopia.
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T. J. Njoka
  • T. J. Njoka
  • Nairobi University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Département of LARMAT, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Zemede Asfaw
  • Zemede Asfaw
  • Addis Ababa University, Collège of Natural Science, Department of Biology and Biodiversity Management, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
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M. M. Nyangito
  • M. M. Nyangito
  • Nairobi University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Département of LARMAT, Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 28 February 2015
  •  Accepted: 27 April 2015
  •  Published: 27 May 2015

Abstract

Wild edible plants are used as food and energy sources. However, their uses are not as the potential inherent in the resources. Balanites aegyptiaca is a multipurpose species in semiarid areas including Ethiopia. Hence, quantitative nutrition study in specific habitat is essential for sustainable use of the species. Composite fruits sample of B. aegyptiaca was collected from six areas of east Shewa, Ethiopia for nutrient analysis following standard laboratory procedure. The results reveal that the fruits are rich in P, Ca, Fe, Zn, Cu, Na, K, Mg and Mn. The nutritional content varied (P<0.05) across land uses. Mean calculated energy value of lipids ranged from 0.09-027 kcal 4.2-7.68 for B. aegyptiaca and the total energy from carbohydrate was 342.2-354.24 kcal. Therefore, the fruit of B. aegyptiaca is promising in terms of nutrient content to human’s diet diversification. It is a valuable species particularly during dry season for coping and adapting to climate variability/change. In spite of the promising potential, the nutritional contribution of this species to the people’s diet remained underutilized. Therefore, the utilization of B. aegyptiaca is justified to be considered for integration in dryland agrobiodiversity systems and nutrition research to enhance the contribution to the diet of people and enhance its sustainable utilization.
 
Key words: Food security, nutrition, diet.