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Compositional studies of Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon) seed

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  • Landmark University, Omu Aran, Nigeria
  • Kwara State University, Malete via Ilorin, Kwara State

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ISPUB.COM The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness
Volume 6 Number 1
1 of 5
Compositional Studies of Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon)
Seed
G Ojieh, O Oluba, Y Ogunlowo, K Adebisi, G Eidangbe, R Orole
Citation
G Ojieh, O Oluba, Y Ogunlowo, K Adebisi, G Eidangbe, R Orole. Compositional Studies of Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon)
Seed. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2007 Volume 6 Number 1.
Abstract
Proximate, amino acid and mineral composition of Citrullus lanatus (egusi melon) flour were determined using standard
analytical procedures. The proximate composition analysis of egusi melon showed that the seed contained (% dry weight):
moisture (4.6±0.3), ash (3.7±0.1), ether extract (45.7±0.1), crude protein (23.4±0.2), crude fibre (12.0±0.1) and total
carbohydrate (10.6±0.2). The result of the amino acid analysis showed that egusi melon seed contained good quantities (g/100g
protein) of arginine (9.0), isoluecine (4.8), leucine (4.2), and phenylalanine (3.2) which are essential amino acids as well as
glutamic acid (16.9) and aspartic acid (16.3).The mineral analysis (mg/100g) of the flour included: Na (13.0±0.2), K (96.1±0.4),
Ca (28.2±0.2), Mg (31.4±0.2), Mn (1.7±0.1), Cu (0.4±0.1), Zn (1.2±0.1), Fe (1.3±0.2), and P (125.3±3.1). With this nutrient
profile egusi melon compares favourably with the known protein rich foods such as soybean, cowpeas, pigeon peas and
pumpkin.
INTRODUCTION
Many plant proteins usually in the form of protein extracts or
seed flours are being investigated and tested for new
products such as low cost fabricated foods which are
nutritious, attractive and acceptable to consumers just like
conventional foods from meat, fish and dairy products
(Lawhom and Cater, 1971; Lin et al., 1974; McWalters et
al., 1976). Seeds have nutritive and calorific values, which
make them necessary in diets. Research attention that are
geared towards increasing utilization of plant protein sources
for food use includes pumpkin (Olaofe et al., 1994), peanut
(Khan et al., 1975), pigeon pea (Oshodi and Ekperigin,
1989), African yam bean (Adeyeye et al., 1994), and akee
apple (Akintayo et al., 2002). The ultimate success of
utilizing plant proteins as ingredients largely depends upon
the beneficial qualities they impact to foods, which in turn
depend largely on their nutritional and functional properties
(Shadrach and Oyebiodun, 1999).
Citrullus lanatus (egusi melon) is the biological ancestor of
the watermelon now found all over the world, but originated
from West Africa . Egusi melon is a member of the
Cucurbitaceae family. Unlike the common watermelon,
whose flesh is sweet and red, the egusi melon's juicy flesh is
pale yellow or green, and also tastes bitter. A creeping
annual herb, the egusi melon has hairy stems, forked tendrils
and three-lobed hairy leaves.
Comprising 50% oil and 35% protein (Jack, 1972), the seeds
have both nutritional and cosmetic importance. The seeds
contain vitamin C and B2, minerals, riboflavin, fat,
carbohydrates and protein (Lazos, 1986). Despite the vast
nutritional and medicinal significance of egusi melon, little
detail on its amino acid and mineral composition is available
to an international readership. This study is therefore aimed
at investigating the proximate, amino acid and mineral
composition of egusi melon seed flour obtained from a
South- Western State of Nigeria . Such information may
expand the scope of knowledge on the nutritional qualities
and utilization of egusi melon flour outside the coast of West
Africa .
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Chemicals: All chemicals used were of analytical grade and
were products of BDH Chemicals Ltd, Poole , England
unless otherwise stated.
Collection and Preparation of Samples: Egusi melon seeds
used for this study were obtained from a local market in
Iwaro-Oka Akoko, Ondo State , Nigeria and were identified
as Citrullus lanatus by a taxonomist in the department of
Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin ,
Nigeria . Seeds were screened to remove bad ones, shelled
manually and further screened. The seeds were then dried to
constant weight in an oven at 70 ° C, ground using
Compositional Studies of Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon) Seed
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mechanical blender, put in an air-tight container and stored
in desiccators for further analysis, some of the seeds was
subsequently deposited at the herbarium of the faculty.
Proximate Composition Analysis: The proximate analysis of
the samples for moisture, total ash and crude fibre were
carried out in triplicate using methods described (AOAC,
1990). The nitrogen was determined by micro Kjeldahl
method described by Pearson (1976) and the nitrogen
content was converted to protein by multiplying by a factor
of 6.25. Determination of crude fat/lipid content of the
samples was done using Soxhlet (Cehmglass) type of the
direct solvent extraction using petroleum ether (boiling
range 60-80 ° C) as solvent. At the end of the extraction, the
solvent was evaporated and the flask dried in the oven (at 60
° C). Total carbohydrate content was estimated by
‘difference'. All the proximate values were reported in
percentage (%).
Amino acid analysis: 2g of egusi melon flour was defatted
with chloroform/methanol mixture using Soxhlet extraction
apparatus (Cehmglass) while the extraction lasted for 15
hours. Between 30-50g of defatted sample was weighed into
glass ampoule. 7ml of 6M HCl was added and oxygen
expelled by passing nitrogen into the ampoule. The sealed
ampoule was put in an oven at about 110 ° C for 22 hours
and later allowed to cool before the content was filtered.
The filtrate evaporated to dryness at 40 ° C under vacuum in
a rotary evaporator. Residue was dissolved with acetate
buffer (pH 2). The method of amino acid analysis was by ion
exchange chromatography (FAO/WHO, 1991) using the
Technicum Sequential Multi Sample Amino Acid Analyzer
(TSM) (Technicum Instruments Corporation, New York ).
Mineral analysis: The mineral composition of the sample
was analyzed by dry-ashing the samples at 550 ° c to
constant weight and dissolving the ash in volumetric flask
using distilled, ionized water with a few drops of
concentrated HCl. Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) were
determined by using a flame photometer (Model 405,
Corning, UK) using NaCl and KCl to prepare the standards.
All other metals were determined by Atomic Absorption
Spectrophotometer (Perkin – Elmer model 403, Norwalk CT
, London ). Earlier, the detection limits of the metals had
been determined according to Techtron (1975). The
optimum analytical grade was 0.1 to 0.5 absorbance units
with a coefficient of variation of 0.87 – 2.20%. The minerals
content were reported as mg/100 g.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The proximate composition (on dry weight basis) of
Citrullus lanatus (egusi melon) are as shown in Table 1.
According to the results, the moisture content of egusi melon
(4.6%) is low compared to those reported for legumes by
Arkroyed and Doughty (1964) ranging between 7.0 and
10%. However, this value agrees closely with that reported
earlier by Ige et al. (1984) for pumpkin seeds. The mean ash
content value of 3.7% obtained for egusi melon in this study
is a little bit above the range of 1.5 – 2.5% recommended for
seeds and tubers for animal feed formulation by Pomeranz
and Clifton (1981). On this basis, egusi melon could be
considered not to be suitable for animal feeds. The ether
extract (crude fat) content of 45.7% obtained for egusi melon
in this study agrees closely with that reported by Ige et al.
(1984) for varieties of melon oil seeds which ranged
between 47.9 and 51.1% . Our value also agrees with that
obtained for pumpkin seed (47.0%) (Fagbemi and Oshodi,
1991), it is however too high compared to that obtained for
soybean (23.5%) (Paul and Southgate, 1980). With the high
amount of crude fat obtained for egusi melon in this study,
egusi melon could be regarded as an oil seed. Our results
show that egusi melon has a crude protein content of 23.4%.
This value compares favourably with those of protein rich
foods such as soybean, cowpeas, pigeon peas and pumpkin
with protein contents ranging between 23.1 and 33.0%
(Olaofe et al., 1994). This protein value also falls within the
recommended daily allowance for children (23.0 – 36.0 g)
(NRC, 1989). The crude fibre content of egusi melon
(12.0%) obtained in this study is high compared to those of
legumes (5.0 - 6.0%) (Aremu et al., 2006). As observed from
our result, egusi melon is low in carbohydrate (10.6%)
compared to other legumes which have as high as
20.0-60.0% carbohydrate content (Arkroyed and Doughty,
1964).
Figure 1
Table 1: Proximate Composition (% dry weight) of
The amino acid analysis of egusi melon flour (g/100 g
Compositional Studies of Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon) Seed
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protein) is shown in Table 2. The results show that arginine,
glutamic acic and aspartic acid with 9.0, 16.9, and 16.3
g/100g protein respectively were the three most abundant
amino acids in egusi melon. This observation is in close
agreement with the report of Olaofe et al. (1994), Adeyeye
(2004), and Aremu et al. (2006). In addition, our result
shows that egusi melon could serve as a good source of
essential amino acids such as arginine, isoleucine and
leucine.
Figure 2
Table 2: Amino acid composition (g/100 g protein) of
Citrullus lanatus (egusi melon) seed flour
The results obtained for the mineral composition of egusi
melon are shown in Table 3. From the results, P is the
predominant mineral in egusi melon seed. This is not in
agreement with the observations of Olaofe and Sanni (1988),
and Aremu et al. (2005) that K was the most abundant
mineral in Nigerian Agricultural products. K however
ranked second in concentration to P in egusi melon as
observed in this study. Na, Ca and Mg are other important
minerals which are highly concentrated in egusi melon. The
Na/K ratio of egusi melon is less than one. This, on the basis
of the recommendation of Nieman et al. 1992) could suggest
that egusi melon would be suitable for reducing high blood
pressure. On the other hand, the Ca/P ratio of egusi melon is
far less than one (0.2) thus its consumption is likely to
reduce the intestinal absorption of calcium.
Figure 3
Table 3: Mineral composition (mg/100 g) of egusi seed flour
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Author Information
Godwin C. Ojieh
Department of Medical Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University
Olarewaju M. Oluba
Department of Biochemistry, University of Benin
Yetunde R. Ogunlowo
Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Technology
Kayode E. Adebisi
Department of Biochemistry, University of Benin
George O. Eidangbe
Department of Medical Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University
Reginah T. Orole
Department of Biochemistry, Adekunle Ajasin University
... and Nakai subsp. mucosospermus (Egusi melon) is the biological ancestor of watermelon, which is now globally cultivated (Ojieh et al. 2007). It is often referred to as Egusi watermelon (Van der Vossen et al. 2004) and is native to West Africa (Ojieh et al. 2007). ...
... mucosospermus (Egusi melon) is the biological ancestor of watermelon, which is now globally cultivated (Ojieh et al. 2007). It is often referred to as Egusi watermelon (Van der Vossen et al. 2004) and is native to West Africa (Ojieh et al. 2007). Egusi watermelon is an unusual seed mutant in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. ...
... The Egusi watermelon is commonly known in Nigeria and the Republic of Congo as wild watermelon, Egusi melon or 'Ibara' (Gusmini et al. 2004). Unlike the common watermelon with red and sweet juicy flesh, the flesh of Egusi melon is pale yellow and green with a bitter taste (Ojieh et al. 2007). 'Egusi' (in Yoruba) or 'Agushi' (in Hausa) melon is a creeping annual herb with hairy stems, forked tendrils and three-lobed hairy leaves (Ojieh et al. 2007), cultivated mainly for its seeds (Achigan- Dako et al. 2008a). ...
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... for the peels flour, 17.63 ± 0.01% for the unpeeled seed flour and 1.86± 0.01% for the peeled seed kernel. Crude fibre value for the peeled seed kernel is lower than that of egusi melon whereas the peels and unpeeled seed flour were higher compared to that reported for eusi melon 12% by Ojieh et al., [22]. Based on the fibre content of this seed, the peels and the unpeeled seeds are recommended for adult human being while the peeled seed kernels are recommended for children. ...
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