International Journal of
Nutrition and Metabolism

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Nutr. Metab.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2332
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJNAM
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 128

Full Length Research Paper

Nutritive composition of omega-3 fatty acids-rich Ricinodendron heudelotii and its potential for nutrition

Michael O. Ezekwe*
  • Michael O. Ezekwe*
  • Department of Agriculture, Alcorn State University, Alcorn, MS 39096, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Samuel A. Besong
  • Samuel A. Besong
  • Department of Human Ecology, Delaware State University, 1200 North DuPont HWY, Dover, DE 19901, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Ramon Johnson
  • Ramon Johnson
  • Department of Agriculture, Alcorn State University, Alcorn, MS 39096, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 06 May 2014
  •  Accepted: 11 November 2014
  •  Published: 31 December 2014


Njangsa (Ricinodendron heudelotii), a tropical tree that grows in the forest of West and Central Africa, produces fruits that are manually shelled to collect oil seeds and dried. A compositional analysis of njangsa revealed a unique nutrient presence of long chain omega-3 fatty acids not usually associated with plant materials. The seed had 31.4% crude protein and 44.7% lipid. Of this lipid, about 73% was composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), almost entirely of eicosapentaenoic acid, with about 18% oleic acid. Preliminary studies were conducted to determine if njangsa seed meal would alter the lipid and other metabolite levels in the pig and/or improve pork quality traits. Twelve crossbred gilts and barrows were fed corn-soybean diets containing 14% crude protein. Treatment group was supplemented with 2% njangsa oil seed meal. Growth and carcass traits showed similar carcass characteristics (P > 0.05). Backfat measurement was reduced (P < 0.05), while kidney weight was elevated (P < 0.01) in treated animals. Pork sensory evaluations were not different between the experimental groups. Oil rich supply of long chain PUFA from sources other than seafood may provide a more sustainable source.


Key words: Ricinodendron heudelotii, fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic, swine, carcass composition.