Drumstick (Moringa Oleifera)
as a food additive in livestock
Tarun Pal Singh
Department of Livestock Products Technology,
Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, India, and
Parminder Singh and Pavan Kumar
Department of Livestock Products Technology, College of Veterinary Science,
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, India
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to focus on natural food additives identied in the drumstick
(Moringa Oleifera) and their probable application as novel ingredients in the development of functional
food products. This plant additive has attracted interest as one of the prominent candidates for the
purpose of improving processing, quality and the safety of various livestock foods such as meat, milk,
sh and their products. The search of natural food additives for the processing and preservation of
high-quality, ready-to-eat products has notably increased due to the adverse effects of chemical
additives on human health.
Design/methodology/approach – Traditionally, Moringa is a pan-tropical plant species, which is
well-known for its nutritional and medicinal properties in human nutrition. Its leaves, seeds, owers,
pods (fruit), bark and roots are extremely valuable sources of nutrition for people of all ages. Moringa is
nowadays also considered as an important source of nutraceuticals which may nd wide application in
the food industry. These nutraceuticals have a positive impact on the body’s function or condition by
affecting the digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems, and it may ultimately
Findings – Several additives that are released in vitro or in vivo from various parts of Moringa have
been attributed to different health effects, including antimicrobial properties, antioxidant activities,
anti-tumour, anti-inammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-convulsant activities and there is
enhancement of nutritional and organoleptic attributes of various livestock foods. Extensive research
has been undertaken to identify and characterize these additives as a new source of biologically active
ingredients for the development of functional foods with specic benets for human health.
Originality/value – This paper focuses on the properties, utilization and scope of Moringa Oleifera in
livestock products, all of which indicate that its effective utilization is the need of the hour.
Keywords Moringa Oleifera, Drumstick, Nutraceutical, Livestock products
Paper type General review
Presently, consumers are rather conservative and conscious in accepting entirely new
ingredients and products, and they prefer to look for new benets in more or less
familiar products (Jongen and Meulenbery, 2005). However, the demands of consumers
keep changing from time-to-time, and these demands range from basic considerations
such as improving food safety, shelf life and reducing wastage to demands for
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 26 February 2015
Revised 26 February 2015
Accepted 6 March 2015
Nutrition & Food Science
Vol. 45 No. 3, 2015
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited
increasingly sophisticated foods having special characteristics in terms of nutritional
value, palatability and convenience. Today, innovation in food technology plays a
crucial role in translating nutrition information into consumer products to produce new
health food ingredients and added specic nutrient or functional ingredients (Hsieh and
Ofori, 2007). In the area of food processing, food manufactures are adding value to their
products to meet the current consumer demand for healthier food products (Hsieh and
Ofori, 2007). The use of synthetic chemicals is always debatable due to their ill effects on
human health; therefore, modern trends towards the natural preservatives have obliged
the food industry to include certain ingredients such as nutraceuticals in livestock
products. The use of phytochemicals from plants in food products has become an
interesting area for the food industry to explore these functional extracts with
antioxidative and antimicrobial properties to replace the current usage of synthetic
chemicals in the development of designer food products. Among various nutraceuticals,
drumstick has gained much importance in recent years, as it has a number of benets. It
is regarded as a miracle plant, and it is one of the most useful tropical trees (Ashfaq et al.,
2012). Moringa Oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) is native to the Indian subcontinent and has
become naturalized in the tropical and subtropical areas around the world, and it
belongs to one of the 14 species of the family Moringaceae (Iqbal and Bhanger, 2006). It
is adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions such as hot and dry, humid and
wet conditions (Anwar et al., 2007). The tree is known by various regional names, such
as Benzolive, drumstick tree, Horseradish tree, Kelor, Marango, Mlonge, Mulangay,
Saijihan, Sajna ben oil tree, miracle tree and “Mother’s Best Friend”(Fahey, 2005). In
India, it is cultivated on a large scale in nurseries and orchards. The leaves, seeds,
owers, pods (fruit), bark and roots are all seen as a vegetable and consumed by humans
throughout the century in diverse culinary ways (Iqbal and Bhanger, 2006) for its
nutritional value, purported medicinal properties and industrial purposes (Khalafalla
et al., 2010). The food system balanced with M. Oleifera could have unique nutrients and
a vast array of bioactive constituents of varying polarity for feeding and nourishing the
immune system, thereby alleviating most of the nutrition-based diseases (Ashfaq et al.,
2012). This review focusses on the properties, utilization and scope of M. Oleifera in
Characteristic features of M. Oleifera
M. Oleifera is among the most promising species with respect to their high antioxidant
activity, high contents of micronutrients (Table I) and phytochemicals and processing
properties. M. Oleifera leaves are a good source of nutrition and exhibit anti-tumor,
anti-inammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-atherosclerotic and anti-convulsant activities
(Chumark et al., 2008;DanMalam et al., 2001;Dahiru et al., 2006). The leaves of
M. Oleifera can be eaten fresh, cooked or stored as a dried powder for many months,
reportedly without any major loss of its nutritional value (Arabshahi et al., 2007;Fahey,
2005). For example, fresh leaves are picked, shade dried, ground to a powder and then
stored for later as a food avouring or additive. Moringa leaves contain ten times the
vitamin A content of carrots, 17 times the calcium content of milk, 15 times the
potassium content of bananas, 25 times the iron content of spinach, 9 times the protein
content of yogurt and much more vitamin C than in oranges (Manzoor et al., 2007).
Leaves rich in biologically active carotenoids and tocopherols have a health-promoting
potential in maintaining a balanced diet and preventing free-radical damage that can
initiate many illnesses (Smolin and Grosvenor, 2007). In addition to the provitamins,
Moringa leaves are also considered a rich source of minerals (Gupta et al., 1989),
polyphenols (Bennett et al., 2003), avonoids (Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003;Lako et al.,
2007), alkaloids and proteins (Soliva et al., 2005). These essential nutrients can help
decrease nutritional decit and can combat many chronic inammatory diseases. A
number of natural compounds have been isolated from M. Oleifera leaves, including
fully acetylated glycosides bearing thiocarbamates, isothiocyanates, malonates,
carbamates or nitriles (Faizi et al., 1994;Bennett et al., 2003;Miean and Mohamed, 2001).
In particular, quercetin and kaempferol glycosides are broken down to yield the natural
Nutritional value of
Nutrients analyzed Pods Fresh (raw) leaves Dried leaf powder
Moisture (%) 86.9 75 7.5
Protein (g) 2.5 6.7 27.1
Fat (g) 0.1 1.7 2.3
Carbohydrate (g) 3.7 13.4 38.2
Fibre (g) 4.8 0.9 19.2
Calories 26.0 92.0 205.0
Minerals (g) 2.0 2.3 –
Ca (mg) 30.0 440.0 2003.0
Mg (mg) 24.0 24.0 368.0
P (mg) 110.0 70.0 204.0
K (mg) 259.0 259.0 1324.0
Cu (mg) 3.1 1.1 0.6
Fe (mg) 5.3 0.7 28.2
S (mg) 137 137 870
Oxalic acid (mg) 10.0 101.0 0.0
-carotene (mg) 0.1 6.8 16.3
Choline (mg) 423.0 423.0 –
Thiamin (mg) 0.05 0.21 2.6
Riboavin (mg) 0.07 0.05 20.5
Nicotinic acid (mg) 0.2 0.8 8.2
Ascorbic acid (mg) 120 220 17.3
Tocopherols acetate (mg) – – 113.0
Essential amino acids
Histidine (mg) 110 149.8 613
Isoleucine (mg) 440 299.6 825
Leucine (mg) 650 492.2 1950
Methionine (mg) 140 117.7 350
Phenylanaline (mg) 430 310.3 1388
Threonine (mg) 390 117.7 1188
Tryptophan (mg) 80 107 425
Valine (mg) 540 374.5 1063
Note: Moringa pods, fresh (raw) leaves and dried leaf powder have been shown to contain the
following per 100 grams of edible portion
Sources: 2006-2008 Dolcas Biotech LLC, firstname.lastname@example.org; Moringa – an ECHO Technical
Note (2007); The Moringa tree, By Dr Martin L. Price
antioxidant avonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, indicating these glycosides can be
efciently hydrolyzed to their respective aglycones (Miean and Mohamed, 2001;Bennett
et al., 2003;Wu et al., 2003).
The fatty acid compositions of solvent andenzyme-extracted oil from M. Oleifera
seeds showed 67.9 per cent oleic acid in the solvent extract and 70.0 per cent in the
enzyme extracts (Abdulkarima et al., 2005). Other prominent fatty acids in Moringa oil
include palmitic (7.8 per cent and 6.8 per cent), stearic (7.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent) and
behenic (6.2 per cent and 5.8 per cent) acids for the solvent and enzyme-extracted oils,
respectively (Abdulkarim et al., 2005). Due to the high monounsaturated to saturated
fatty acid ratio, Moringa seed oil could be considered an acceptable substitute for highly
monounsaturated oils such as olive oil (Tsaknis and Lalas, 2002). Oils with high
amounts of monounsaturated (oleic type) fatty acids are desirable due to their
association with decreased risk of coronary heart disease (Abdulkarim et al., 2007).
Applications of M. Oleifera
Plants have been and will remain vital to mankind. They produce nutraceutical
compounds which encompass a wide array of functions and have a diverse array of
applications in food industry. Protection of food from microbial or chemical
deterioration has traditionally been an important concern in the food industry.
Moringa leaves have been reported to be a good source of natural antioxidants and,
thus, enhance the shelf life of fat-containing foods due to the presence of various
types of antioxidant compounds such as ascorbic acid, avonoids, phenolics and
carotenoids (Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003). Polyphenolic compounds acts as
chain-breaking peroxyl radical scavengers which lead to the inhibition of lipid
peroxidation and also prevent low-density peroxidation (O’ Byme et al., 2002). The
crude extract of Moringa leaf can actively scavenge free radicals, thus preventing
cellular damage (Sreelatha and Padma, 2009).
Moringa in preservation
It is an important criterion in the food industry to protect the livestock food and food
products from microbial or chemical deterioration. Chemically synthesized
preservatives have been classically used to reduce both microbial spoilage and
oxidative deterioration of food (Roller, 1995). This fact has led to an increasing interest
in developing more “natural” alternatives to enhance shelf life and safety of the food
(Buker et al., 2010). A;though there is no extensive work on the plant under review,
Caceres et al. (1991) stated that the juice of fresh drumstick leaves is found to have
antimicrobial properties. The fresh leaf juice, powder from fresh leaves and cold water
extract of fresh leaves from drumstick have displayed a potential antibacterial activity
against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as determined by disc diffusion
and minimum inhibitory concentration method (Rahman and Sheikh, 2009). Moringa
seeds also possess antimicrobial properties (Madsen et al., 1987). Broin et al. (2002)
reported that a recombinant protein in the seed is able to occulate gram-positive and
gram-negative bacteria cells. A recent study indicated that seeds exhibited the potential
as preservatives by inhibiting the growth of organisms such as E. coli, S. aureus, P.
aeruginosa, S. typhi, S. typhimurium and E. aerogenes which range from pathogenic to
toxigenic organisms liable to cause food-borne illnesses to spoilage-causing organisms
liable to spoil food products (Daljit et al., 2013).
Utilization of Moringa in livestock products
Meat and meat products
Moyo et al. (2014) concluded that supplementing cross-bred Xhosa lop-eared goats with
M.Oleifera leaf meal produced chevon with higher meat quality attributes, improved
lightness (L*), redness (a*) values, Warner-Bratzler shear force and higher sensory
consumer scores compared with the control group. Mukumbo et al. (2014) concluded that
the inclusion of M.Oleifera leaf meal (2.5, 5 and 7.5 per cent) in nisher pig feed, had no
detrimental effects on carcass characteristics or physico-chemical meat quality, and it
signicantly improved the acceptability of pork colour, odour and lipid prole.
Nkukwana et al. (2014) stated that diets supplemented with or without M.Oleifera leaf
meal (1, 3 and 5 per cent of dry matter intake) and with the high saturated fatty acid
content, improved the fatty acid prole and reduced lipid oxidation in broiler breast
meat. Najeeb et al. (2014) stated that the appearance, avour, juiciness and overall
acceptability value of the restructured chicken slices, containing Moringa leaf powders
(1 per cent level), were not affected and were safely stored without much loss in quality
up to 20 days under refrigeration with lower microbial counts. Muthukumar et al. (2014)
reported that Moringa leaf extract (600 ppm) was more effective in reducing lipid
oxidation compared to Moringa leaf extract (450 and 300 ppm), but less effective
compared to BHT (200 ppm) in both raw and cooked pork patties during storage at 4°C.
Ologhobo et al. (2014) concluded that M.oliefera leaf meal at the inclusion levels showed
improvement in the breast and drumstick when compared with percentage of
eviscerated weight, as a good replacement for oxy-tetracycline for broiler birds. Teye
et al. (2013) determined the effects of Moringa leaf meal on sensory characteristics and
nutritional qualities of frankfurter-type sausages. Moringa (6g/kg meat) had improved
crude protein and reduced fat contents. Therefore, with higher crude protein levels in
Moringa-enriched products, a small quantity will be required by consumers to meet
their nutrient requirement, and hence, reduce expenditure on meat and meat products.
Qwele et al. (2013a) concluded that dietary supplementation of Moringa-formulated
diets for broilers was effective in enhancing the oxidative stability of chicken meat, but
it did not result in differences in the physico-chemical characteristics of meat. Qwele
et al. (2013b) determined the chemical composition, fatty acid content and antioxidant
capacity of meat from goats supplemented with M.Oleifera leaves and indicated that
their anti-oxidative potential may play a role in improving meat quality (chemical
composition, colour and lipid stability). Hazra et al. (2012) concluded that the use of
crude extract of M.Oleifera leaves (1, 1.5 and 2 per cent) had signicant antioxidant and
antimicrobial effects and improved the organoleptic quality by enhancing the
tenderness and juiciness in cooked ground buffalo meat. Das et al. (2012) observed that
the M.oleiferia leaves’ extract (0.1 per cent) was more effective than BHT for preventing
increased TBARS number of precooked goat meat patties during storage at 4°C.
Ayssiwede et al. (2011) assessed the effects of M.Oleifera leaves inclusion in diets of
growing indigenous Senegal chickens and reported signicantly better growth
performances, feed costs, economic margins and no adverse impact on carcass and
organ characteristics. Sharaf et al. (2009) determined the effects of defatted– detoxied
Moringa meal our (3, 6, 9 and 12 per cent) as a meat extender in the manufacture of beef
burgers and caused an improvement or retention of physio-chemical, microbiological
quality and good sensory properties and better acceptability during frozen storage.
Replacement of our with Moringa meal our in meat products improves the
nutritional, physiochemical, microbiological and sensory quality criteria with low
Milk and milk products
Moringa leaves are popularly distributed as a dry, smooth, free-owing powder for
making your own natural milk drinks and nutrients-enriched beverage for infants. Such
a beverage would not only add to the nutritional and health benets that Moringa is
reported to have. Organoleptic evaluation revealed that M.Oleifera-enriched milk
beverage is generally acceptable, but the colour is not (Madukwe et al., 2013). Salem et al.
(2013) evaluated the effect of dry M.Oleifera leaves (1, 2, or 3 per cent) in Labneh cheese
and concluded that it improved nutritional, biological, microbiological and organoleptic
properties. Nadeem et al. (2012) used the dry M.Oleifera leaves (1, 2 and 3 per cent) to
formulate fortied butter milk with increased health benets and acceptable sensory
attributes. Mahami et al. (2012) reported that the Moringa seed extract (0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2
per cent) enrichment resulted in signicant increases in the yield, protein content and
mineral content of cottage cheese; therefore, it has the potential to be used in improving
the yield and quality of cottage cheese.
Fish and sh products
Adeyemi et al. (2013) stated that M.Oleifera marinade – 1, 2 and 3 per cent (w/v) – and
5 per cent Brine (w/v) solutions could be used to protect stored smoke-dried catsh from
microbial and fungal spoilage, limiting economic loss and possible health risk to
consumers and thus enhancing food safety and security.
The recent revivals of consumer interest in the plant-derived nutraceuticals are of
greater importance and have led to an increase in consumer demand for food products
enriched with nutraceuticals. M.Oleifera is coming to the forefront as a result of
scientic evidence that Moringa is an important source of naturally occurring
phytochemicals, and this provides a basis for future viable developments in the food
industry. Owing to their anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties, they are widely
used for extending the shelf life of food products. Further research could investigate the
extract in combination with hurdles currently in use, which may enhance its effect.
Future studies may be focussed on extensive work determining the applicability of such
systems in livestock food products with the objective of replacing or reducing synthetic/
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