IOSR Journal of Biotechnology and Biochemistry (IOSR-JBB)
ISSN: 2455-264X, Volume 3, Issue 5 (Sep.- Oct. 2017), PP 39-44
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 39 | Page
Comparative Studies on the Nutritional and Anti – Nutritional
Properties of Indigenous Seeds Used As Soup Thickeners in
Ndulaka, J. C.1*., Ekaiko, M. U2., Onuh, Emeka .F1 and Okoro, Oriaku. A.1
1. Department of Chemistry/ Biochemistry, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Nigeria.
2. Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Rivers State. Nigeria.
Abstract: The Proximate, minerals, vitamins and phytochemical compositions of six indigenous seeds used as
soup thickeners in South East Nigeria were investigated using standard procedures. The soup thickeners which
included Mucuna flagelipes (Ukpo), Defarium microcarpum (Ofor), Brachystegia eurycoma (Achi), Citrullus
colocynthis (Melon), Afzelia africana (Akparata) and Irvingia gabonensis (Bush mango) was seen to contain
various nutritional and anti-nutritional properties such as carbohydrate 43.32% to 59.64%, Ask 2.55- 4.77%,
crude fiber 4.05% to 3.00%, Protein, 15.25-16.71%, Fat, 6.10-17.15, Fiber, 4.05- 3.00. The phytochemical
included Tannins 67.24-82.1 mg/100g, Alkaloids, 48.71-66.05, Oxalate, 0.67-1.44. The mineral content were
calcium 44.28 mg/100g to 65.26 mg/100g, iron 3.02 mg/100g to 4.61 mg/100g, Magnesium 55.34 mg/100g to
72.09 mg/100g, and Sodium 20.60 mg/100g to 28.88 mg/100g. The seed were also found to be rich in vitamins
such as Thaimine, 0.44-2.65, Riboflavin, 0.10-0.15, Niacin, 0.22-0.39. The present study shows that most of
these soup thickeners consumed in the south-eastern Nigeria are rich source of nutrient and medicinal
importance for both Man and livestock augmenting or supplementing as an alternative source of nutrient.
Keywords: Minerals, proximate, phytochemical, soup thickeners, South East Nigeria
Date of Submission: 11-09-2017 Date of acceptance: 25-09-2017
Plants have long serve as useful ingredients for our nutritional purposes and in the treatment of diseases
in both developing and developed countries. About 80 % of the World‟s populations rely mainly on plant and
their products for there well being (WHO, 1993). Every food substance consumed by humans has either a
therapeutic, nutritional or toxic effect on the body. Plants and their products have been in used for as old as the
history of man for there therapeutic purposes. In the past decades, pharmacologists and organic chemists have
synthesized a large number of interesting chemical substances from plants, which have been of great help in the
practice of pharmacology and traditional medicine.
In south eastern part of Nigeria, most of the foods consumed as soup are prepared with different plant
parts (such as the leaves, seeds, and fruits) which serve for different purposes as spices, condiments, thickeners
etc. The different varieties of soup prepared in these parts of Nigeria are usually garnished with one thickening
agent or the other which help to stimulate appetite and aid swallowing. According to Ikechuku and Emmanuel,
(2010) Thickening agents, or thickeners, are substances which, when added to an aqueous mixture, increase its
viscosity. They provide body, increase stability and improve suspension of added ingredients (the strength of the
food materials). Thickening agents are often used as food additives and in cosmetics and personal hygiene
products (Igwenyi, and Azoro, 2014). The food use and consumption of these soup thickeners calls for more
research to provide information on their mineral, pharmacological, phytochemical compositions and properties
of their constituents so as to ascertain their actual nutritional values, health and other medicinal importance.
Examples of these soup thickeners as used in the present study; includes, Mucuna flagelipes (Ukpo), Defarium
microcarpum (Ofor), Brachystegia eurycoma (Achi), Citrullus colocynthis (Melon), Afzelia africana (Akparata)
and Irvingia gabonensis (Bush mango). These plants have generally being reported for their nutritional and
Mucuna is a genus of around 100 accepted species of climbing vines and shrubs of the family fabacea
found in the woodlands of tropical areas (Hutchison and Dalziel, 1973). The plants have been reported to
possess useful phytochemical of high medicinal value of human and veterinary importance and also constitute as
an important raw material in Ayurvedic and folk medicines (Sridhar and Bhat, 2007). The seeds constitute as a
good source of several alkaloids, antioxidants, antitumor and antibacterial compounds (Adebowale and Lawal,
2003). Irvingia gabonensis is a species of African trees in the genus Irvingia, sometimes known by the
common names wild mango, African mango, bush mango, dika or ogbono. They bear edible mango-like fruits,
comparative studies on the nutritional and anti – nutritional properties of indigenous seeds used as ..
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 40 | Page
and are especially valued for their fat- and protein-rich nuts. Irvingia seeds constitute an important part of the
rural diet in Nigeria. Usually the sun dried seeds are ground in flour and usedas soup thickner (Ayuk et al,
1999). Citrullus colocynthis L. (egusi) belongs to the species of the genus Citrullus of cucurbitaceae family,
which usually consists of a large number of varieties that are generally known as melons. It is used both as
condiment and thickener in Nigerian local soup and the industrial scale production of the oil yet to be utilized
despite the huge potential. Various studies have reported predominantly high linoleic fatty acid content in egusi
melon seed oils. Due to the unsaturated fatty acid composition of its oil, it was reported to resemble that of
safflower, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, soybean and sesame oil.
Brachystegia eurycoma is one lesser known legumes popular in the eastern part of Nigeria, is a woody
plant mostly found in the rain forest zone. In some states of Nigeria, Bracysteria euyrocoma is called achi in
Igbo, akalado or eku in yoruba, akpakpa or apaupan by the Ijiaws and dewen in Benin. Brachystegia eurycoma
seed is seasonal but its use in soup making is not seasonal (keay et al,. 1974)
Afzelia africana is one of the local food plants grown in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a tree legume
plant in the family of caesalpiniaceae. It is a deciduous tree and is known as counterwood tree "akparata"
amongst the 1gbos.It has black fruits in woody pods of about 1Ocm long when matured (dry). The pod releases
shiny black "mahogany bean" seeds when matured by mechanical explosion. The seed is glossy black with
waxy orange aril around its haw. Afzelia africana cotyledons are traditionally used in the thickening of soups. Its
leaves are wed in preparing pottage yam with vegetable after home fermentation. The consumption of both
seeds and the leaves is common in Southeastern Nigeria.
Detarium microcapum is a locally common plant often left in farmland is cleared and left to fallow. It is
plant genus of the family fabacea (Legume family). It is widely distributed in the semi arid sub Saharan African
which include Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria etc. D. microcarpum fruits is edible and rich in vitamins C, the
leaves and seeds are used for cooking, the root, stems bark are medicinal(Florence et al., 2014).
II. Materials And Methods
Fresh samples of the plant seeds were collected from Umungazi market in Aba, Abia state Nigeria. The samples
were transported to department of chemistry/ biochemistry, Abia state polytechnic Aba. The samples were dried
in an oven at 60OC for 48 hours and then milled with an electric blender before used for the analysis.
PROXIMATE ANALYSIS: The seed samples were analyzed for their proximate compositions using the
Official methods as described by AOAC, (1980).
DETERMINATION OF PHYTOCHEMISTRY: Alkaloids were determined by the method as described by
Higuchi and Hassan (1973). Tannins were determined by the method of Price et al., (1978); Bainbridge et al.
(1996), Saponins, flavonoids, glycosides and steroidal aglycon were variously determined by the method of
DETERMINATION OF MINERAL CONTENT: Calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and iron were
determined according to the method of Shahidi et al. (1999). The sound seed samples were sieved with a 2mm
rubber sieve and 2g each of samples were weighed and subjected to dry ashing in a well-cleaned porcelain
crucible at 550oC, in a muffle furnace. The resultant ash was dissolved in 5ml of HNO3/HCL/H2O (1:2:3) and
heated gently on a hot plate until brown fumes disappeared. To the remaining materials in each crucible, 5ml of
deionized water was added and heated until a colourless solution was obtained. The mineral solution in each
crucible was transferred into 100ml volumetric flask by filtration through a Whatman No 42 filter paper and the
volume made to the mark with deionized water. This solution was used for elemental analysis by atomic
absorption spectrophotometer. A 10cm long cell was used and concentration of each element in the sample was
calculated on percentage of dry matter.
Table 1: Proximate analysis of soup thickeners in %w/w
Crude Fat (%)
Crude Fiber (%)
10.94ef ± 0.01
6.53 b ± 0.02
2.05 a ± 0.01
1.60 b ± 0.00
62.71 c ± 0.01
10.96e ± 0.01
16.02 c ±0.01
6.46 c ± 0.04
2.01 b ± 0.01
2.01 b ± 0.01
62.98 b ± 0.
11.27b ± 0.01
15.25 d ±0.02
6.12 d ± 0.01
1.84 d ± 0.01
1.48 d ± 0.01
64.05 a ± 0.03
10.35 d ± 0.03
16.71 a ±0.01
7.15 a ± 0.02
1.92 c ± 0.01
1.64 a ± 0.00
62.24 d ± 0.01
11.03 c ± 0.01
6.46 b ± 0.01
1.97 a ± 0.00
1.52 b ± 0.01
63.02 c ± 0.01
11.34 a ± 0.02
6.10 c ± 0.00
1.81 b ± 0.01
1.47 c ± 0.00
64.09 a ± 0.02
comparative studies on the nutritional and anti – nutritional properties of indigenous seeds used as ..
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 41 | Page
Table 2: Mineral composition of soup thickeners (mg/100g)
72.09 a ± 0.03
62.26 b ±0.01
28.88a ± 0.02
66.82 a ± 0.02
4.61a ± 0.01
62.14 d ± 0.03
45.23d ± 0.01
20.62de ± 0.02
56.82 c ± 0.02
3.52 d ± 0.00
55.34 e ± 0.03
65.26a ± 0.01
24.64b ± 0.02
52.82 de ± 0.02
3.61c ± 0.01
62.19 c ± 0.03
21.54c ± 0.02
53.82 d ± 0.02
3.02 f ± 0.00
52.02 f ± 0.03
44.28e ± 0.01
20.65d ± 0.02
51.82 e ± 0.02
70.12 b ± 0.03
42.24 f ± 0.01
20.60e ± 0.02
58.82 b ± 0.02
3.72 b ± 0.00
Table 3: Vitamins composition of soup thickeners (Mg/100g)
0.39 a ± 0.01
0.25d ± 0.01
0.22e ± 0.01
0.30c ± 0.01
0.23cd ± 0.01
0.33b ± 0.01
Table 4: Phytochemical composition of soup thickeners (seeds) mg/100g.
1.46 a ± 0.01
4.19 a ±0.02
1.17 a ± 0.01
1.44a ± 0.01
0.94b ± 0.11
3.24f ± 0.02
1.14 b± 0.01
0.68d ± 0.02
0.89c ± 0.2
0.55c ± 0.11
4.11b ± 0.01
1.12d ± 0.00
0.67d ± 0.21
0.48d ± 0.11
4.01c ± 0.11
1.12d ± 0.21
1.12b ± 0.01
0.9c ± 0.01
0.55c ± 0.02
1.1b ± 0.01
0.99a ± 0.11
0.46de ± 0.02
355d ± 0.02
1.13c ± 0.01
0.97c ± 0.01
The proximate compositions of the soup thickeners (seeds) are shown in table 1.The result shows that
Citrullus colocynthis (Egusi) had the highest protein content (16.71%) and Brachystegia eurycoma (15.25%) the
lowest. There were significantly differences among the seeds. Mucuna sloanei had protein content of 16.18%,
Afzelia africana15.20%, Irvigna gabonesis 16.00% and Detarium microcarpum 16.02%. The result was higher
than that reports of Igwenyi and Akubugwo, (2010). These values give the seeds positive attributes as plant
proteins are scarce and this protein contents can furnish the essential amino acids needed for healthy growth and
repair of tissues (Igwenyi, 2008).
The crude fat content of the soup thickeners (seeds) were observed to be generally low except for
Citrullus colocynthis (Egusi)17.15% which recorded the highest fat content and Afzelia Africana (Akparata)
6.10% the lowest. The crude fat content recorded 6.12% in Brachystegia eurycoma (Achi), 6.53% in Mucuna
sloanei, Irvigna gabonesis (Ogbono) 6.46% and 6.46% in Detarium microcarpum (Ofor). The result here is
comparative studies on the nutritional and anti – nutritional properties of indigenous seeds used as ..
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 42 | Page
close to that reported by Odenigbo and Obizoba, (2004).
Lipids are the principal form of stored energy (fat and oils) in most organisms and major constituents of
cellular membranes. Specialized lipids serve as pigments (retinal, carotene), cofactors (vitamin K), detergents
(bile salts), transporters (dolichoils in bacteria cell wall synthesis), hormones (vitamin D derivatives, sex
hormones), extracellular and intracellular messengers (eicosanoids), and anchors for membrane proteins
(covalently attached fatty acids, phosphatidyl inositol, etc) (Voet and Voet, 2004; Nelson and Cox, 2005).
The percentage crude fiber in the seed samples were in the range of 4.05% to 3.00%. There were
significant differences (P<0.05) in the fiber contents of the samples. Afzelia Africana recorded crude fiber
content of 8.81%, Brachystegia eurycoma 7.84%, Mucuna sloanei 4.05%, Citrullus colocynthis 9.92, Irvigna
gabonesis 5.97% and Detarium microcarpum 6.01%. These values are close to the values reported by Akpata
and Miachi (2001) and Barminas et al., (2004) respectively. Fiber regulates bowel actions and may help to guard
against colon and rectal cancer as well as in diabetes. Crude fiber is the inorganic residue left after the defatted
food materials have been treated with boiling dilute hydrochloric acid, diluted sulphuric acid, boiling dilute
sodium hydroxide, alcohol and ether. It is that portion of food that is not used up by the body. Fiber shortens the
transit time of food through the gastrointestinal tracts, reduces low density lipoprotein and hence keeps the gut
healthy. Fiber supplements or fiber-rich foods may function as normal dietary agents by modulating the
digestive and absorptive process (Okaka et al., 2006). They are very important in promoting a range of
physiological effects, including increased fecal bulk, water-holding capacity, absorption of organic molecules
such as bile acids, cholesterol and toxic components (reduced bile acid and plasma-cholesterol levels), reduction
of minerals and electrolytes (Igwenyi, 2008).
The ash contents were also investigated and it showed that the values were Brachystegia eurycoma
(achi) 4.77%, Afzelia africana 3.51%,, Mucuna sloanei 2.66%, Citrullus colocynthis 2.55, Irvigna gabonesis
2.47 and Detarium microcarpum 3.79% . The ash contents were also comparable to values reported by Barminas
et al., (2004) for Xylopia ethiopica also used as a thickener. Measure of ash content could be a measure of the
The percentage moisture contents were Mucuna sloanei 10.94%, Brachystegia eurycoma 11.27%,
Afzelia Africana 11.34%, Citrullus colocynthis 11.35% Irvigna gabonesis 11.03% and Detarium microcarpum
The carbohydrate composition of the (seed) soup thickeners as shown in table1 were in the range of
43.32% to 59.64% with Mucuna sloanei 59.64% the highest and Citrullus colocynthis (43.32%) the lowest.
Brachystegia eurycoma (56.75%), Afzelia africana 45.55% Irvigna gabonesis 58.07%, Detarium microcarpum
57.76%, These results are comparable to the work of (Eddy and Udoh, 2005). Who recorded 60.17% in
Brachystegia eurycoma (Achi) and 51.03% in Detarium microcarpum (Ukpo).The result is also in line with the
work of Ejiofor, (1994).
The concentrations of saponins were generally low and were found in the range of 1.46mg/100g in
Mucuna sloanei, 0.99 mg/100g in Detarium microcapum , 0.55 mg/100g in Brachystegia eurycoma, 0.48
mg/100g in Citrullus colocynthis, 0.55 in Irvigna gabonesis and Afzelia Africana 0.6mg/100g in Afzelia
The concentrations of tannins were relatively high. Detarium microcarpum contained 78.24mg/100g
tannins, Brachystegia eurycoma 68.01mg/100g, Mucuna sloanei 60.83mg/100g , Citrullus colocynthis 82.1
mg/100g, Irvigna gabonesis 67.24 mg/100g and Afzelia Africana 67.27mg/100g. These values were higher than
0.38 –0.77mg/100g reported for Glycine max and Vigna unguiculata (Okwu and Orji, 2007). The values of the
tannin contents were comparable to 57.10% in the ethnomedicinal and phytochemical profile of some savannah
plant species in Nigeria (Bako et al., 2005).Tannins are astringent, bitter plant polyphenols that either bind and
precipitate or shrink proteins. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry and puckery feeling in the
mouth following the consumption of red wine or an unripened fruit. Their main function in nature seems to be
one of protection; animals are deterred from eating plants high in tannins because of the bitter astringent.
Tannins have traditionally been considered antinutritional but it is now known that their beneficial or
antinutritional properties depend upon their chemical structure and dosage (Muller-Harvey and McAllan, 1992).
Recent studies have demonstrated that products containing chestnut tannins included at low dosages (0.15-0.2%)
in the diet can improve wellbeing (Schiavone et al., 2007).
The concentration of alkaloids in table 2 was 66.05mg/100g for Brachystegia eurycoma, Detarium
microcarpum 57.55mg/100g, Afzelia africana 53.95mg/100g, Mucuna sloanei 61.73mg/100g , Citrullus
colocynthis 56.45 mg/100g and Irvigna gabonesis 48.71 mg/100g when compared with the rest. These values
were higher than 1.28 –1.64mg/100g reported in the phytochemical composition and nutritional quality of
Glycine max and Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp (Okwu and Orji, 2007) and 4.32% by Abukakar et al., (2008).
Alkaloids are famous analgesics (Mothes, 1996) and have been utilized in a variety of ways in the treatment of
diseases and during surgery due to their medicinal and pharmacological potency.
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 43 | Page
The concentrations of Oxalate were found in the range of 1.44mg/100g in Mucuna sloanei, 0.68
mg/100g in Detarium microcapum, 0.67 mg/100g in Brachystegia eurycoma, 1.12 mg/100g in Citrullus
colocynthis, 1.10 mg/100g in Irvigna gabonesis and 0.97mg/100g in Afzelia Africana.
Flavonoids have been referred to as "nature's biological response modifiers" because of strong
experimental evidence of their inherent ability to modify the body's reaction to allergens, viruses, and
carcinogens. They show anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory (Yamamoto and Gaynor, 2006), anti-microbial
(Cushine and Lamb, 2005) and anti-cancer activity. Flavonoids are antioxidants that play major roles in the
protection of cells from lethal effects of free radicals and their derivatives Nyerhowo et al., (2015). A diet rich in
antioxidant compounds (like phenols and flavonoids) therefore helps to strengthen the antioxidant-based defense
system in the human body Nyerhowo et al., (2015). Flavonoid values recorded Mucuna Sloane (1.17 mg/100g)
Detarium microcarpum (1.14 mg/100g), Brachystegia nigerica (1.12 mg/100g), Citrullus colocynthis (1.12
mg/100g), Irvigna gabonesis (1.00), Afzelia africana (1.13 mg/100g).
The mineral content of the soup thickeners are shown in table 3. The potassium contents was found in
the range of 51.82mg/100g to 66.82 mg/100g with Mucuna sloanei (66.82 mg/100g) the highest and Irvigna
gabonesis(51.82 mg/100g the lowest, 56.82 mg/100g in Detarium microcapum ,52.82 mg/100g in
Brachystegia eurycoma, 53.82 mg/100g in Citrullus colocynthis, 58.82 in Afzelia Africana.
Potassium is a systemic electrolyte and is essential for co-regulating ATP with sodium. Potassium is a
major intracellular cation that maintains intracellular osmotic pressure (Vasudevan and Sreekumari 2007).
The Sodium contents was found in the range of 20.60 mg/100g to 28.88 mg/100g with Mucuna sloanei
(28.88 mg/100g) the highest and Afzelia Africana 20.60 mg/100g the lowest Irvigna gabonesis 20.65
mg/100g., ,Detarium microcapum 20.62 mg/100g, 24.64 mg/100g in Brachystegia eurycoma, 21.54 mg/100g
in Citrullus colocynthis. Sodium is an electrolyte present in extracellular fluid and is essential for coregulating
ATP with postassium (Linder,1991) sodium is also important in the regulation of acid base balance (Vasudevan
and Sreekumari 2007).
The calcium contents was found in the range of 44.28 mg/100g to 65.26 mg/100g with Brachystegia
eurycoma, 65.26 mg/100g Mucuna sloanei (62.26 mg/100g) the highest Irvigna gabonesis 44.28 mg/100g the
lowest, Afzelia Africana 42.24 mg/100g, Detarium microcapum 45.23 mg/100g 58.23mg/100g in Citrullus
colocynthis. Calcium is a very important mineral. It is a structural component of bones and teeth. Ti contributes
to physical strength of bones and teeth. Calcium is required in muscle concentration, blood coagulation, nerve
impulse transmission etc.
The iron contents was found in the range of 3.02 mg/100g to 4.61 mg/100g with Mucuna sloanei (4.61
mg/100g the highest Citrullus colocynthis the lowest, Brachystegia eurycoma, 3.52 mg/100g) Irvigna
gabonesis 3.12 mg/100g , Afzelia Africana 3.37 mg/100g , Detarium microcapum 3.52 mg/100g . Iron is a
component of many proteins and enzymes, notably hemoglobin and cytochrome P450. Deficiency of iron could
to iron deficiency anaemia which is more common in menstruating females and pregnant women (Dvlin, 200)
the RDA of iron in adults in between 15,20-30mg for children and 40mg for pregnant women (Vasudevan and
The magnesium contents was found in the range of 55.34 mg/100g to 72.09 mg/100g with Mucuna
sloanei (72.09 mg/100g) the highest and Irvigna gabonesis 52.02 mg/100g the lowest, Afzelia Africana 70.12
mg/100g,Detarium microcapum 62.14 mg/100g, 55.34mg/100g in Brachystegia eurycoma, 62.19 mg/100g in
The levels of thiamine concentration were within the range of 0.44 mg/100g to 2.65 mg/100g Mucuna
Sloane, Detarium microcarpum, Brachystegia eurycoma Citrullus colocynthis, Irvigna gabonesis Afzelia
africana were 1.08 mg/100g, 2.64 mg/100g, 0.48 mg/100g ,0.44 mg/100g,0.45 mg/100g and 1.05mg/100g
Riboflavin levels were analyzsed an it was found be 0.11 mg/100g in Mucuna sloanei , Brachystegia
eurycoma and in Detarium microcarpum ,0.13 in Citrullus colocynthis ,0.15 mg/100g in Irvigna gabonesis and
0.10 mg/100g in Afzelia africana .
Niacin values recorded values for Mucuna Sloane (0.39 mg/100g) Detarium microcarpum (0.25
mg/100g), Brachystegia eurycoma (0.22 mg/100g), Citrullus colocynthis (0.30 mg/100g), Irvigna gabonesis
(0.23 mg/100g), Afzelia africana (0.33 mg/100g). Vitamins are organic compounds, which are found in natural
food and are essential for the normal growth and nutrition of human body (Chopra and Panser, 2010).
The seeds used as soup thickeners have high percentage yield of carbohydrate that serve both as
thickener and fuel source for the generation of the energy currency of the cell. The protein contents showed that
they can provide the amino acids needed to support the metabolic activities of the body. Despite the various
levels of these plants secondary metabolites, there are not associated with any disease state or condition in the
area as such diseases associated with malnutrition and malabsorption. This could be attributed to the presence of
DOI: 10.9790/264X-03053944 www.iosrjournals.org 44 | Page
antioxidants. However, many traditional methods of food preparation such as fermentation, cooking, and
malting increase the nutritive quality of plant foods through reducing certain anti-nutrients and such processing
methods are widely used in societies where cereals and legumes form a major part of the diet.
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