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Uses, traditional management, perception of variation and preferences in ackee (Blighia sapida K.D. Koenig) fruit traits in Benin: Implications for domestication and conservation

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  • The Alliance of Bioversity International (Bioversity) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Abstract and Figures

Blighia sapida is a woody perennial multipurpose fruit tree species native to the Guinean forests of West Africa. The fleshy arils of the ripened fruits are edible. Seeds and capsules of the fruits are used for soap-making and all parts of the tree have medicinal properties. Although so far overlooked by researchers in the region, the tree is highly valued by farmers and is an important component of traditional agroforestry systems in Benin. Fresh arils, dried arils and soap are traded in local and regional markets in Benin providing substantial revenues for farmers, especially women. Recently, ackee has emerged as high-priority species for domestication in Benin but information necessary to elaborate a clear domestication strategy is still very sketchy. This study addresses farmers' indigenous knowledge on uses, management and perception of variation of the species among different ethnic groups taking into account also gender differences. 240 randomly selected persons (50% women) belonging to five different ethnic groups, 5 women active in the processing of ackee fruits and 6 traditional healers were surveyed with semi-structured interviews. Information collected refer mainly to the motivation of the respondents to conserve ackee trees in their land, the local uses, the perception of variation, the preference in fruits traits, the management practices to improve the production and regenerate ackee. People have different interests on using ackee, variable knowledge on uses and management practices, and have reported nine differentiation criteria mainly related to the fruits. Ackee phenotypes with preferred fruit traits are perceived by local people to be more abundant in managed in-situ and cultivated stands than in unmanaged wild stands, suggesting that traditional management has initiated a domestication process. As many as 22 diseases have been reported to be healed with ackee. In general, indigenous knowledge about ackee varies among ethnic and gender groups. With the variation observed among ethnic groups and gender groups for indigenous knowledge and preference in fruits traits, a multiple breeding sampling strategy is recommended during germplasm collection and multiplication. This approach will promote sustainable use and conservation of ackee genetic resources.
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RESEARC H Open Access
Uses, traditional management, perception of
variation and preferences in ackee (Blighia sapida
K.D. Koenig) fruit traits in Benin: implications for
domestication and conservation
Marius RM Ekué
1,2*
, Brice Sinsin
2
, Oscar Eyog-Matig
3
, Reiner Finkeldey
1
Abstract
Background: Blighia sapida is a woody perennial multipurpose fruit tree species native to the Guinean forests of
West Africa. The fleshy arils of the ripened fruits are edible. Seeds and capsules of the fruits are used for soap-
making and all parts of the tree have medicinal properties. Although so far overlooked by researchers in the
region, the tree is highly valued by farmers and is an important component of traditional agroforestry systems in
Benin. Fresh arils, dried arils and soap are traded in local and regional mar kets in Benin providing substantial
revenues for farmers, especially women. Recently, ackee has emerged as high-priority species for domestication in
Benin but information necessary to elaborate a clear domestication strategy is still very sketchy. This study
addresses farmers indigenous knowledge on uses, management and perception of variation of the species among
different ethnic groups taking into account also gender differences.
Methods: 240 randomly selected persons (50% women) belonging to five different ethnic groups, 5 women active
in the processing of ackee fruits and 6 traditional healers were surveyed with semi-structured interviews.
Information collected refer mainly to the motivation of the respondents to conserve ackee trees in their land, the
local uses, the perception of variation, the preference in fruits traits, the management practices to improve the
production and regenerate ackee.
Results: People have different interests on using ackee, variable knowledge on uses and management practices,
and have reported nine differentiation criteria mainly related to the fruits. Ackee phenotypes with preferred fruit
traits are perceived by local people to be more abundant in managed in-situ and cultivated stands than in
unmanaged wild stands, suggesting that traditional management has initiated a domestication process. As many
as 22 diseases have been reported to be healed with ackee. In general, indigenous knowledge about ackee varies
among ethnic and gender groups.
Conclusions: With the variation observed among ethnic groups and gender groups for indigenous knowledge
and preference in fruits traits, a multiple breeding sampling strategy is recommended during germplasm collection
and multiplication. Th is approach will promote sustainable use and conservation of ackee genetic resources.
* Correspondence: mrekue@gmail.com
1
Forest Genetics and Forest Tree Breeding, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August
University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Ekué et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2010, 6:12
http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/6/1/12
JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY
AND ETHNOMEDICINE
© 2010 Ekué et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Ope n Access art icle distributed under the terms of the Creative Co mmons
Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted us e, distribution, and reproduction in
any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background
Whether termed Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)
or designated as Agroforestry Tree Products (AFTPs) to
differentiate between wild and domesticated products
[1], many plants species are essential for the livelihoods
of millions of poor farmers in tropical developing coun-
tries. They are part of the threatened biological assets of
the rural poor representing an appreciable wealth of
agrobiodiversity that has the potential to contribute to
improve incomes, food security and nutrition. Local
communities consider them essential elements not only
in their diet but also in their food culture and rituals
[2]. Unfortunately, these locally important species are
often neglected leading to the erosion of their diversity
and usefulness, further restricting development options
for the poorest. Research to increase the value of these
species and to make them more wi dely available would
broaden the agricultural resource base and increase the
livelihood options for rural communities.
Belonging to the Sapindaceae family, B. sapida (ackee
in English) is a woody perennial multipurpose fruit tree
species native to the Guinean forests of West Africa.
The fleshy arils of the ripened fruits are edible. Seeds
and capsules o f the fruits are us ed for soap-making and
for fishing, and all parts of the tree have medicinal prop-
erties. Fresh arils, dried arils and soap are traded in local
and regional markets in Benin providing substantial rev-
enues for farmers, especially women [3,4]. An economi c
survey conducted in 121 households in the rural town-
ship of Toukountouna (NW Benin) revealed that more
than 9 tons of arils were produced in 2003 from which
80% were dried and traded in local markets generating
more than US $ 10,000 of revenue. Interestingly, this
revenue r epresents almost 20% of the family income
competing with major staples such as maize (20%), sor-
ghum (21%) and common beans & cowpeas (15%) [4].
B. sapida is widely cultivated in Jamaica w here it had
been introduced by slave traders during the 18
th
century
[5] with an annual t urnover o f approximately US $ 400
million in 2005 for the trade of the arils of the fruits[6].
Although largely overlooked by researchers in the
region, the tree is highly valued by farmers and is an
important component of traditional agroforestry systems
in Benin. Recent ly, ackee has emerged as high-prio rity
species for domestication in Benin after a national sur-
vey and ranking of Non-Timber Forest Products
(NTFPs) [7]. General reasons to domesticate B. sapida
are income generation, improvement of li velihoods stra-
tegies, satisfaction of farm household needs and agroe-
cosystem diversification [3,7,8].
Tree domestication in agroforestry is defined as a
farmer-driven and market-led process, which matches
the intraspecific diversity of locally important trees to
the needs of subsistence farmers, product markets, and
agricultural environments. The first step before develop-
ing a domestication strategy for any species is to collate
all available information on the speci es including bota-
nic descriptions, geographic distribution, ecology, forest
inventories, and farmers survey, harvesting techniques,
trade figures, conservation s tatus and genetic variation
patterns [1]. For B. sapida,someoftheserequiredkey
issues have been recently addressed [3,4,7-10]. Neverthe-
less, farmers knowledge on uses, processing, manage-
ment and perception about intraspecific variation are
not yet fully documented. The documentation provides
testable hypotheses for research that can accelerate the
delivery of improved tree planting material to farmers
[11]. This paper addresses these issues of farmersindi-
genous knowledge and perception of variation of
B. sapida at a national level considering differen t ethnic
groups using the species and recognizing the potential
gender differences.
Methods
Sampling
Previous works and early exploration have shown that
B. sapida is distributed in different phytogeographic
zones of Benin. Each phytogeographic zone hosts var-
ious ethnic groups and members of the same ethnic
group are sometimes dispersed across different phyto-
geographic zones historically. However, even if people
belong ing to the sa me ethnic group are sett led in differ-
ent locations, they share together traditions, historical
experiences, perceptions, values, attitudes, beliefs and
language. Therefore, one may expect some variability on
uses of natural resources and subsequent know-how not
only among ethnic groups, but also among gender
group.
According to the above-mentioned co nsiderations and
in order to get the maximum of information, eleven
communes distributed in the three main phytogeo-
graphic zones (Figure 1) where B. sapida is known and
used by local populations were included in the survey.
In each commune, between 20 or 30 persons were ran-
domly chosen. In total, 240 persons (50% women)
belonging to the following Benin ese ethnic groups
(Adam and Boko, 1993): Batombu, Yoruba, Otamari,
Natemba and Fon (Table 1). In additio n, 5 women
active in the processing of ackee fruits and 6 traditional
healers were included.
Ethnobotanical survey
Semi-structured interviews concerning the species were
carried out once. Information s collected refer to the
denomination of the species and i ts meaning, the moti-
vation of the respondents to conserve ackee trees in
Ekué et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2010, 6:12
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their land use system, local uses, perception of variation,
preferences in fruits t raits, management practices to
improve the production and regenerate ackee, the gen-
der-specific tasks and responsibilities in the production
and processing of ackee products.
The diffe rent traditional pro ducts obtained from ackee
trees and inherent processing techniques were recorded.
Likewise, the processing steps of each product, their
Table 1 Common names of Blighia sapida in Benin
Ethnic group Language Local names
Batombu Baatonu Diremou
Yoruba Nagot/Idatcha Ichin/Iguichin
Otamari Ditammari Moufodom
Natemba Naténi Foulama
Fon Fongbé/Mahi Lissètin/Sissitin
Figure 1 Map of Benin showing the location of surveyed districts.
Ekué et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2010, 6:12
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variability and subsequent constraints were also
recorded.
Data analysis
Frequency distribution was used to compare answers
within each ethnic group. The fidelity level (FL) [12]
was calculated using the following formula: FL = Ip/Iu ×
100%, where Ip is the number of informants answering
positively on each question and Iu the total number of
positive answers for each category of the questionnaire.
This index was used to measure the consensus degree
between informants and the relat ive importance of each
category of knowledge within each ethnic group.
The interview ees we re groupe d according to ethnic
group and gender group (men and women) so that in
each ethnic group, two subgroups were defined: men
(M) and women (F). With five ethnic groups, 10 sub-
groups we re constituted. Because the size o f subgroups
differed and an interviewee could choose mo re than
one ackee trait, the relative frequency of each trait was
determined for each of the 10 subgroups. This para-
meter is defined as the proportion of interviewees
belonging to the subgroup who identified the particu-
lar a ckee trait. A data m atrix co mprising the relative
frequencies of ackee traits was then submitted to Prin-
cipal Component Analyses (PCA) using STATISTICA
8.0 [13]. T his statistical metho d was used to identify
traits that best explained the pattern of variation
according to the different subgroups. For graphical
purposes, the subgroups are labelled b y prec eding the
ethnic group p refix (first three letters) with the label of
one of the 10 subgroups defined above. Fo r example, a
man from Batombu ethnic group is labelled BatM,
whereas a woman from the same ethnic group is
labelled BatF.
Loglinear analysis was also performed using the PROC
CATMOD available in SAS [14] with gender group
(men or women) and ethnic group as dependent vari-
ables for each category of answer to detect possible
association between peo ple knowledge and their ethnic
or gender membership.
Results
Local names of ackee
B. sapida is designated in each language by different
local names shown in T able 1. The name Foulama used
by the ethnic group Natemba means groundnut of
trees by comparison of a rils to nuts of peanut (Arachis
hypogaea L.). All others local names do not have any
particular meaning.
Motivation to conserve ackee trees
In general, ackee trees a re integrated in different land
use systems across t he country for a variety of reasons
including the direc t uses as food, soap , medicine, shade,
myth and for its marketing value. Apart from the use as
food, it w as always the combination of two or three
other reasons that determined the conservation of ack ee
in farmers field. Table 2 shows the percentage of per-
sons quoting each type of motivation in each ethnic
group. The m ain motivation is a lways the use as food
(between 53.3% among the Yoruba and 100% among the
Otamari). The Otamari ethnic group show ed also the
highest motivation frequency for medicinal (73.3%) and
marketing (36.7%) reasons. The Natemba is the sec ond
group using ackee for its marketing value. Natemba
(40%) and Yoruba (30%) are the two ethnic groups
valorisingackeesoapwhilethetreeprovidedshadefor
nearly 19% of the respondent in the Fon group.
In addition, women conserve ackee for soap making
and its commercial value, while men keep them for
shade. The trade of ackee products seems to be
restricted to the ethnic groups Otamar i and Natemba.
The motivation to c onserve ackee trees v aried signifi-
cantly among ethnic groups (c
2
= 1 4.49, df = 4, p <
0.01) but not among gender group (Table 3). From one
ethnic group to the other the motivation depended on
the gender (c
2
= 13.11, df = 4, p < 0.05).
The fidelity level (FL) of motivation highlighted the
uses as food, medicine, soap and the commercial value
as the most important (Table 2).
Main uses, post-harvest handling and processing of ackee
Use of ackee as food
At maturity, arils are consumed directly fresh, added to
sauc e to repl ace sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seeds or
peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), or grounded into powder
and added to the sauce mainly to release its oil contents.
Arils are also fried in peanut (A. hypogaea) or oil palm
(Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) oil. It can be parboiled wit h salt
and sometimes spices. Arils are dried mainly for conser-
vation purpose and this is usually the commercialized
form at local mark ets and/or for shipment toward cities.
For drying, arils are exposed to the sun during 4 days
and thereafter it can be stored for 2 weeks. The dried
arils can b e used as described above in the fresh, boiled
or fried forms. Y oung lea ves may be parboiled and used
like any other African leafy vegetables.
The main diffi culty highlighted by nearly 70% respon-
dents is the long-ter m storage of arils. The absence of
efficient drying techniques makes the storage of large
quantities of arils difficult, especially when fruits mature
in the rainy season. Roads are usually degraded at that
time of the year, making transp ort of the p roduction
toward markets in big cit ies difficult. This results in the
loss of a large part of the production due to destruction
by insects or birds when mature fruits are abandoned
on trees.
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Table 2 Variation in local knowledge of Blighia sapida according to five ethnic groups from Benin
Category/Criteria Variant Batombu
(n = 40)
Yoruba
(n = 60)
Otamari
(n = 30)
Natemba
(n = 30)
Fon
(n = 80)
Total
F %FLF %FLF %FLF %FLF %FL F %
Motivation Market 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 11 36.7 15.28 6 20.0 12.24 0 0.0 0.00 17 7.1
Shade 3 7.5 6.12 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 1 3.3 2.04 15 18.8 20.83 19 7.9
Medicine 15 37.5 30.61 12 20.0 26.67 22 73.3 30.56 6 20.0 12.24 3 3.8 4.17 58 24.2
Soap 0 0.0 0.00 1 1.7 2.22 9 30.0 12.50 12 40.0 24.49 2 2.5 2.78 24 10.0
Food 28 70.0 57.14 32 53.3 71.11 30 100.0 41.67 24 80.0 48.98 51 63.8 70.83 165 68.8
Myth 3 7.5 6.12 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 1 1.3 1.39 4 1.7
ΣF 49 - - 45 - - 72 - - 49 - - 72 - - - -
Uses Food Fresh aril 29 72.5 19.59 27 45.0 42.19 25 83.3 20.49 22 73.3 22.22 51 63.8 72.86 154 64.2
Dried aril 29 72.5 19.59 21 35.0 32.81 25 83.3 20.49 22 73.3 22.22 3 3.8 4.29 100 41.7
Fried aril 29 72.5 19.59 3 5.0 4.69 1 3.3 0.82 6 20.0 6.06 0 0.0 0.00 39 16.3
Boiled aril 29 72.5 19.59 10 16.7 15.63 25 83.3 20.49 21 70.0 21.21 8 10.0 11.43 93 38.8
Vegetable 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 3 10.0 3.03 0 0.0 0.00 3 1.3
Fisheries Fisheries 1 2.5 0.68 0 0.0 0.00 22 73.3 18.03 10 33.3 10.10 0 0.0 0.00 33 13.8
Soap Soap 23 57.5 15.54 1 1.7 1.56 19 63.3 15.57 15 50.0 15.15 6 7.5 8.57 64 26.7
Capsule to
wash
7 17.5 4.73 2 3.3 3.13 4 13.3 3.28 0 0.0 0.00 2 2.5 2.86 15 6.3
Repellent Repellent 1 2.5 0.68 0 0.0 0.00 1 3.3 0.82 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 2 0.8
ΣF 148 - - 64 - - 122 - - 99 - - 70 - - - -
Variation in
fruits traits
Differentiation in
fruits traits
Fruit size 29 72.5 38.67 13 21.7 39.39 21 70.0 33.87 20 66.7 42.55 5 6.3 45.45 88 36.7
Fruit shape 1 2.5 1.33 1 1.7 3.03 1 3.3 1.61 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 3 1.3
Aril colour 1 2.5 1.33 2 3.3 6.06 0 0.0 0.00 2 6.7 4.26 0 0.0 0.00 5 2.1
Aril size 1 2.5 1.33 1 1.7 3.03 1 3.3 1.61 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 3 1.3
Aril taste 3 7.5 4.00 4 6.7 12.12 5 16.7 8.06 1 3.3 2.13 0 0.0 0.00 13 5.4
Seed size 12 30.0 16.00 1 1.7 3.03 12 40.0 19.35 5 16.7 10.64 1 1.3 9.09 31 12.9
Preference in
fruits traits
Fruit size 28 70.0 37.33 9 15.0 27.27 19 63.3 30.65 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 56 23.3
Fruit shape 0 0.0 0.00 1 1.7 3.03 1 3.3 1.61 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 2 0.8
Aril colour 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 1 3.3 1.61 19 63.3 40.43 5 6.3 45.45 25 10.4
Aril size 0 0.0 0.00 1 1.7 3.03 1 3.3 1.61 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 2 0.8
Aril taste 0 0.0 0.00 4 6.7 10.26 6 20.0 10.00 1 3.3 1.79 1 1.3 1.96 12 5.0
ΣF 75 - - 33 - - 62 - - 47 - - 11 - - - -
Propagation and regeneration
practices
Assisted tree
regeneration
18 45.0 24.00 2 3.3 5.13 17 56.7 28.33 19 63.3 33.93 5 6.3 9.80 61 25.4
Transplanting 27 67.5 36.00 25 41.7 64.10 19 63.3 31.67 21 70.0 37.50 40 50.0 78.43 132 55.0
Sowing 30 75.0 40.00 5 8.3 12.82 16 53.3 26.67 15 50.0 26.79 5 6.3 9.80 71 29.6
ΣF 75 - - 39 - - 60 - - 56 - - 51 - -
Management practices to
improve production
Ringing 0 0.0 0.00 3 5.0 7.69 2 6.7 3.33 0 0.0 0.00 0 0.0 0.00 5 2.1
Grazing
protection
1 2.5 1.23 1 1.7 3.70 1 3.3 1.67 1 3.3 1.92 0 0.0 0.00 4 1.7
Tree/crop
association
8 20.0 9.88 10 16.7 37.04 3 10.0 5.00 4 13.3 7.69 17 21.3 44.74 42 17.5
Pruning 25 62.5 30.86 4 6.7 14.81 20 66.7 33.33 22 73.3 42.31 1 1.3 2.63 72 30.0
Fire protection 27 67.5 33.33 12 20.0 44.44 22 73.3 36.67 16 53.3 30.77 20 25.0 52.63 97 40.4
Mulching/ 20 50.0 24.69 0 0.0 0.00 14 46.7 23.33 9 30.0 17.31 0 0.0 0.00 43 17.9
ΣF 81 - - 27 - - 60 - - 52 - - 38 - - - -
n = number of interviewees, F = Frequency of answer, ΣF = total number of positive answer per ethnic group, FL = Fidelity Level
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The F L revealed that there was a high consensus
between informants for fresh aril in all ethnic groups
(between 19.6 and 72.9), for boiled aril and dried aril in
Otamari, Natemba and Batombu, the latter ethnic group
also for fried aril (Tabl e 2). Fresh, dried and boiled arils
showed the same and high (more than 70%) use fre-
quency within the Batombu, Otamar i and Natemba
communities. The use of leaves as vegetable is restric ted
to the ethnic group Natemba (10%). People belonging to
the Fon ethnic group had a high preference to the fresh
aril (63.8%) and only few persons favor the other form
of fo od use. Significant differences were detect ed for the
use of ackee as food according to the ethnic group
(c
2
= 11.37, df = 4, p < 0.05) and the gender of the
respondents (c
2
= 5.12, df = 4, p < 0.05) (Table 3).
Use of ackee as soap
Capsules of the fruits have the property of producing
saponins, which lather in water and are used for wash-
ing. In the Pobè region (South-East Benin), it is rather
the whole im mature fruits that are cut in small pieces
and plunged into water for washing clothes. According
to the interviewees, this type of utilization was very pop-
ular in the past across the country b efore the introduc-
tion of manufactured soap. Today the use of fruit
capsules as soap is practiced mainly in the Batombu
(17.5%) and Otama ri (13.3%) ethnic groups, and the
associated FL were fairly low (Table 2).
The manufacturing process of ackee soap is shown in
Figure 2. In the saponification process, shea [(Vitellaria
paradoxa C.F.Gaertn.)] butter can be substituted by
Table 3 Results of log linear analysis between indigenous knowledge and traditional management variables, and
ethnic group membership and gender of the respondent
Indigenous knowledge and traditional management variables Source of variation Degree of freedom Chi-Square P value
Motivation to conserve EG 4 14.49 < 0.01
GG 1 0.10 0.754
EG*GG 4 13.11 < 0.05
Likelihood ratio 25 164.85 < 0.001
Uses as Food EG 4 11.37 < 0.05
GG 1 5.12 < 0.05
EG*GG 4 8.23 0.084
Likelihood ratio 28 157.48 < 0.001
Uses as Soap EG 4 18.09 < 0.01
GG 1 7.30 < 0.01
EG*GG 4 5.58 0.232
Likelihood ratio 16 104.24 < 0.001
Uses in Fisheries EG 4 55.98 < 0.001
GG 1 1.87 0.172
EG*GG 4 0.89 0.926
Likelihood ratio 5 37.48 < 0.001
Differentiation in fruits traits EG 4 9.54 < 0.05
GG 1 0.30 0.586
EG*GG 4 3.03 0.553
Likelihood ratio 13 82.46 < 0.001
Preference in fruits traits EG 4 31.91 < 0.001
GG 1 1.24 0.266
EG*GG 4 3.92 0.417
Likelihood ratio 12 39.18 < 0.001
Propagation and Regeneration practices EG 4 5.84 0.212
GG 1 3.93 < 0.05
EG*GG 4 11.37 < 0.05
Likelihood ratio 19 77.04 < 0.001
Management Practices to improve production EG 4 14.21 < 0.01
GG 1 7.95 < 0.01
EG*GG 4 12.50 < 0.05
Likelihood ratio 32 99.78 < 0.001
EG: Ethnic group, G: Gender, EG*GG: Interaction between ethnic group and gender group
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palm oil depending on the availability. Shea butter is
widespread in the Northern part of Benin and palm oil
in the South. Nowadays, ackee soap is mainly produced
andcommercializedbywomenfromtheethnicgroups
Otamari (63.3%), Batombu (57.5%) and Natemba (50%).
The soap is valued mainly for its medicinal and estheti-
cal properties (Table 4).
Loglinear analysis showe d significance for the use of
ackee as soap among ethnic group (c
2
= 18.09, df = 4,
p<0.01)andamonggender(c
2
= 7.30, df = 1, p < 0.01).
Use of ackee in fisheries
The bark, seeds and capsules are dried, reduced into pow-
der and used to poison fishes so that they are rendered
easier to catch. This type of utilization is exclusively
restricted to the ethnic groups Otamari and Natemba
located in the North-West of Benin. 80% of men and 90%
of women have knowledge about this use. In Boukoumbé
where there is no river for fishing, capsules and bark are
sold or exchanged against fishes with fishermen from
other villages. The use of ackee in fisheries differed signifi-
cantly between ethnic groups (c
2
= 17.02, df = 4,
p < 0.001) and by gender (c
2
= 6.01, df = 4, p < 0.05).
Use of ackee as repellent
The spreading of ashes obtained from calcine d capsules
is a repellent for some insect pest to cultures such as
cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) or common bean
Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) in the region of N Dali (North-
East Benin). In Boukoumbe, the bark is first dried, then
crushed and afterwards mixed w ith seeds of pearl millet
(Pennisetum g laucum (L.) R.Br.) and African finger
millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn. ssp. africana
(Kennedy & OByrne) Hilu & de Wet) before sowing to
avoid insects attacks. However, only 4 male interviewees
have mentioned this type of use.
Traditional medicinal uses of ackee
In total, 22 diseases have been recognized to be healed
with ackee. Dental decay, fever, malaria, internal hae-
morrhage, dysentery, burns, eyes inflammation, yellow
fever, constipation, cutaneous infections, whitlow and
head lice are the most common. All parts (bark, cap-
sules, seeds, roots , leaves) a re involved in the composi-
tion of dr ugs (Table 5). The bark is useful in the
treatment of 13 diffe rent diseases followed in decreasing
order by leaves (8), capsules (3), roots and seeds (2).
This type of knowledge is kept mostly by old people
and traditional healers in the communities and varied
sometimes from one ethnic group to the other.
Perception of variation and preferences in ackee fruit
traits
Existence of different types of ackee
Nine criteria were reported to characterize different
types of ackee from which seven are related to the fruit
anditsdifferentparts.Fruitsizeisbyfarthemost
quoted criterion followed by aril taste, size and colo ur
of aril, and seed size (Table 6). According to farmers,
fruit size is positively correlated with aril size.
Differentiation and preferences in ackee fruit traits
The Fon appeared to have just residual knowledge about
fruits traits. Indeed, only 7.5% could differentiate ackee
based on fruit size, while this frequency varied between
21.7% (Yoruba) and 72.5% (Batombu). Seed size was the
second important criterion and it followed the same ten-
dency as observed for fruit size. Aril taste was relatively
an important criterion of differentiation for the Otamari
(16.7%) and the others criteria were minor (Table 2).
Preferred fruits traits were the same in which local
population perceived variation in fruits traits. The fruit
size was the most important criterion among the Yoruba
(15.0%), Otamari (63.3%) and Batombu (70.0%) commu-
nities. Aril color was very important for the Natemba
Table 4 Therapeutic virtues and/or properties of Blighia
sapida soap in Benin
Virtue and medicinal properties Number of quotations
♁♂
Scabies 24 20
Tinea 22 19
Antipyretic 20 23
Antiseptic, dermatosis 23 27
Softening of the skin 20 29
Washing 3 6
Burns 21 24
Figure 2 Manufacturing process of Blighia sapida soap in Benin.
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(63.3%) while aril taste was relevant for the Otamari
(16.7%). Farmers indicated t hat mana ged trees exhibi ted
their preferred traits more frequently than trees in the
wild and/or unmanaged trees. There were significant
differences for differentiation (c
2
=9.54,df=4,
p < 0.05) and preference (c
2
= 31.91, df = 4, p < 0.001)
in fruit traits among ethnic groups.
The FL of differentiation in fruit trai ts highlighted
the importance of fruit size in all ethnic groups and
for s eed size in the Batombu and Otamari. Wi th pre-
ference in fruits traits, FL revealed the importance of
fruit size with the Batombu, Otamari and Yoruba,
and color of aril for the Natemba and Fon ethnic
groups.
Table 5 Medicinal properties of Blighia sapida in Benin
N
°
Disease/virtue Composition/preparation Dosage
1 Whitlow Bark + common beans or cowpeas + salt. Crush the mixed Application of the mixture on the
finger
Crush roasted seeds + palm kernel oil
Crush roasted seeds roasted and + palm oil
Incinerate a mix of ackee seeds + cashew nuts. Add palm oil to the ashes
2 Head lice Incinerate the capsules to obtain ashes Use the ashes to wash the head
3 Dental decay Crush seeds + salt Put on the decaying teeth
Crush dried bark Put on the hole of the decaying
teeth
4 Child Fever Infusion of the roots Wash the child with the infusion
Decoction of leaves and bark Wash the child with the
decoction
Triturate leaves with water
5 Fever Triturate leaves of ackee and teak (Tectona grandis L. f.)
Triturate leaves of ackee and mango (Mangifera indica L.)
6 Yellow Fever Crush dried bark into powder + salt Add the mix to a porridge and
drink it
Crush bark + African locust bean (Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R.Br. ex G.Don)
mustard
Eat
7 Eyes problems Soak bark in water Wash the eyes with the water
8 Bite of scorpion or snake Crush dried bark into powder + salt Application on the wounded
zone and eat also
9 Malaria Infusion of bark + seeds of green pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) + soya
bean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) leaves
Take three glass per day
Infusion of ackee and papaya (Carica papaya L.) leaves
Infusion of bark
Decoction of leaves
Decoction of dried bark
10 Healing of wound Crush bark or seeds into powder Application into the wound
11 Apparition of the first
childrens teeth
Decoction of leaves and bark Make drink the child
12 Abscess Crush bark + common beans or cowpeas Application on the abscess
Crush roasted seeds + oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) oil
13 Burns Crush and press the bark to gather the juice + honey Application on the burn area
14 Cutaneous infections, buttons
on the body
Infusion of leaves and bark Take a shower with the infusion
15 Internal hemorrhage Crush dried bark Add to porridge and drink
16 Pregnant woman blood flow Macerate leaves previously exposed to the dew + limestone Drink three glasses per day
17 Constipation Decoction of bark
18 Anemia Decoction of roots
19 Vomiting Decoction of leaves
20 Dysentery Decoction of leaves + shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.) butter
21 Guinea worm infection
(Dracunculiasis)
Crush dried bark + shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.) butter + potash Apply the mix on the skin
22 Fracture Macerate leaves Massage the fractured limb
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Traditional management practices
Propagation and indigenous regeneration practices
Three regenerati on tec hniques of ackee were reco rded:
sowing, transplanting and assisted tree regeneration.
The reason behin d each regeneration method and the
practical implementation are summarized in Table 7.
Transplanting of w ildings was the most important
regeneration method at t he national level followed by
sowing and assisted t ree regeneration. Women seemed
to practice more often sowing than men. Sowing was
more comm on in the ethn ic gr oups B atombu (75.0%),
Otamari (63.1%) and Natemba (70%) a nd is almost as
important as transplantin g and assisted tree regenera-
tion. Assi sted tree regeneration was mainly practiced by
the Batombu (45.0%), Otamari (56.7%) and Natemba
(63.3%). The FL confirmed the importance of those
Table 6 Perception of variation of Blighia sapida by local people in Benin
Differentiation criteria Different type reported Characteristic Percent of interviewees
Size fruit Small Narrow leaflets, wild tree, small aril 36.67
Large Larger leaflets, planted tree, large aril
Aril taste Soft - 5.42
Hard -
Aril size + seed size Large aril and small seed - 2.08
Small aril and large seed -
Aril colour Light yellow Less tasty and hard to conserve 2.08
Yellow Tasty and easy to conserve
Fruit shape Elongate - 1.25
Short -
Fruit size + fruit shape Small and elongate Aril very tasty 1.25
Height of the tree before the first fructification Small Between 1.5 and 2 meters 1.25
Tall More than 2 meters
Capsules number of chambers 3 chambers 0.83
4 chambers
5 chambers
Leaflets width Large - 0.83
Narrow -
Table 7 Propagation, regeneration and management practices of Blighia sapida in Benin
Practice Reason/function Implementation
Propagation and
regeneration
practices
Assisted tree
regeneration
Favour natural regeneration Young plants are staked to be easily visible and protected from
tillage, grazing and fire
Transplanting
of wildings
Use of naturally regenerated seedlings and
saplings
Seedlings and saplings are removed and replanted in an
appropriate area and given essential care
Sowing Multiply the best provenance with the
preferred fruits traits
Seeds from the most vigorous or best fruit yielding trees are
selected and put together. After germination during the rainy
season, they are transplanted in an appropriate location to
receive care
Management
practices to improve
production
Ringing Stimulate fruit production A shallow 10 cm-wide ring of bark is cut from the trunk at
breast height just before flowering
Grazing
protection
Avoid destruction of seedlings and saplings
by domestic animals
Establish fence of cacti or rocks around the seedlings and
saplings
Tree/crop
association
Diversification, soil protection, shadow for
cultures, creation of microclimate
favourable for crops
To leave naturally growing or planted ackee trees in farmland
and to plant crops such as millet, sorghum. maize, yam in the
same field
Pruning Improved fruit production, reduction of
shade on understorey crops, firewood
Cutting back certain branches
Fire
protection
Avoid fire damages to trees that affect fruit
yield and destroy seedlings and saplings
Tillage, weeding and clearing around the seedlings, saplings
and trees
Mulching/
organic
fertilization
Rapid growth of seedlings and saplings and
increasing fruit production
Leaf mulch, animal manure, compost and crop residues near
the root and sprinkling with water
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practices in every community except the Yoruba and
Natemba for sowing and assisted tree regeneration
(Table 2). Significant differences were detected for this
type of knowledge according to gender (c
2
=3.93,
df = 4, p < 0.05) and the interaction between gender
group and ethnic group (c
2
= 11.37, df = 4, p < 0.05).
Traditional management practices to improve the
production
Pruning, ringing, protection from grazing, tree/crop
association, f ire protection and mulching are the man-
agement practices used by farmers to improve produc-
tion (Table 7). Fire p rotection was the most important
practice in all ethnic groups confirmed by the high FL
value. In addition, pruning and m ulching were very
important for the Batombu, Otamari and Natemba
(Table 2). Significant differences were detected among
ethnic groups (c
2
= 14.21, df = 4, p < 0.01), among gen-
der (c
2
= 7.95, df = 1, p < 0.01) and for the interaction
between gen der group and ethnic group (c
2
= 12.50,
df = 4, p < 0.05).
Links between indigenous knowledge, perception of
variation and traditional management of ackee in Benin
The result o f the principal component analysis (PCA)
performed on the indigenous knowledge, the perception
of variation and the traditional management of ackee
showed that the first three axes explained 72.8% of the
variation observed. Therefore, only the first three axes
were used to desc ribe the r ela tionship between peoples
knowledge of the species and their ethnic group and
Table 8 Correlation between Blighia sapida characteristics and principal component analysis (PCA) factors
Category/Criteria Variant PCA 1 PCA 2 PCA 3
Motivation Market -0.236 -0.611 -0.353
Shade 0.303 0.676 -0.068
Medicine -0.833 -0.163 0.343
Soap -0.117 -0.612 -0.509
Food 0.204 0.763 0.039
Myth -0.634 0.673 -0.098
Food use Fresh aril 0.218 0.862 -0.033
Dried aril -0.903 -0.224 0.002
Fried aril -0.708 0.435 -0.240
Boiled aril -0.866 0.012 -0.363
Vegetable -0.027 -0.323 -0.549
Fisheries use - -0.375 -0.610 -0.042
Soap use Soap -0.898 0.046 -0.320
Capsule to wash -0.811 0.467 0.222
Use as repellent - -0.853 0.221 0.284
Perception of variation Size fruit -0.925 -0.008 -0.240
Fruit shape -0.657 0.052 0.674
Color aril -0.181 -0.194 0.168
Size aril -0.657 0.052 0.674
Taste aril -0.720 -0.080 0.552
Size seed -0.907 -0.024 -0.207
Preference in fruits traits Size fruit -0.844 0.174 0.133
Fruit shape -0.183 -0.369 0.840
Color aril 0.213 -0.300 -0.684
Size aril -0.183 -0.369 0.840
Taste aril -0.154 -0.458 0.616
Propagation and regeneration practices Assisted tree regeneration -0.795 -0.082 -0.463
Transplanting of wildings 0.139 0.889 0.054
Sowing -0.885 0.299 -0.305
Management practices to improve production Ringing 0.053 -0.140 0.241
Grazing protection 0.003 -0.332 0.124
Tree/crop association 0.434 0.778 0.184
Pruning -0.880 -0.100 -0.382
Fire protection -0.725 0.562 -0.069
Mulching/organic fertilization -0.891 -0.034 -0.181
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gender. T able 8 shows the sign of cor relation values
between the different criteria and the three PCA axes.
Figure 3A and 3B shows the projection of the different
ethnic/gender groups onto the first and second, first and
third axes respectively.
It can be deduced from results s hown in Table 5 and
Figure 3 that the male Batomb u and Otamari (BatM
and OtaM) are motivated to conserve ackee on their
land for its utility as medicine and myth; u se of the
dried, boiled or fried aril; favour the use of the soap and
as repellent; they perceived variation in fruit size and
shape, seed size and aril size and taste; selected fruits
based on their size; practiced sowing, assisted tree
regeneration, used ackee for mulching a nd organic
Figure 3 Projection of ethnic groups and gender into the principal component analysis (PCA) axes. (A) PCA axes 1 and 2, (B) PCA axes 1
and 3.
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fertilization, and practiced pruning and fire protection.
The criteria mentioned above are all relevant also for
the Fon (men and women) with the followin g additional
ones: market, shade, soap, food and myth in the motiva-
tion category; use in fishery; transpla ntation and tree/
crop association (Table 8). The PCA 2 axe clearly se pa-
rated also the Otamari and Natemba women groups.
The Natemba women, the Yoruba women and the Ota-
mari men a re highly correlated with the PCA 3 that is
explained by the motivation to conserve ackee tree for
its utility as soap, the use of the leaves as vegetable, the
perception of variation in fruit shape, aril size and a ril
taste, and the following preferences in ackee fruits traits:
fruit shape, aril colour, aril size and aril taste.
Discussion and conclusions
Indigenous knowledge and valorisation of ackee products
B. sapida i s well known in Benin. It has been util ized
for centuries and i s still an important plant genetic
resource today. Each ethnic group has different names
for the species indicating age-old k nowledge and uses.
In general, by providing different products, services and
having a commercial value, ackee is conserved for its
multipurpose properties.
Apart from the use as vegetable in the Natemba eth-
nic group mentioned above, others utilizations of the
aril have been reported also in West Africa [15-18] and
in the Caribbean [19,20]. Farmers managed the species
firstly to meet their own needs and also for the com-
mercial value of arils and soap [3,4].
Future researches on the technological characte ristics
of the fruits and the design of small storage techniques
are needed to help farmers to improve the conser vation
and long-term storage of arils. The best way to do that
would be to establish small processing units managed by
farmers in villages or at the communal level. The exact
knowledge of composition is the basis for any successful
technological process [21]. Preliminary analyses of the
physical composition of arils from Toukountouna
(North-West Benin) have shown that it inclu des 46 % of
oil, 47% of fibres and 3% of proteins [10]. The food
value o f 100 g of raw arils from Mexico is as follows:
Moisture (57.60 g), Protein (8.75 g), Fat (18.78 g), Fibre
(3.45 g), Ca rbohydr ates (9.55 g), Ash (1.87 g ), Calcium
(83 mg), Phosphorus (98 mg), Ir on (5.52 mg), Thiamine
(0.10 mg), Rib oflavin (0.18 mg), Niacin (3.74 mg) and
Ascorbic Acid (65 mg) [19].
Characterization of ackee seed oil and defatted cake of
seeds from Southe rn Benin compared to se eds from
Nigeria and te dI voire reveal ed differences in chemi-
cal properties and composition of se eds oils (saponifica-
tion value, iodine value, oleic acidity, peroxide value);
fatty acid composition, proximate composition
(mo isture, fat, crude fibre, total sugars , starch, proteins)
andmineralcomposition(K,N,P,Ca,Mg,Na,Cu,Zn,
Mn,Fe,Fe,Ash)and17aminoacids[22-24].Those
results highlighted the potential of ackee seeds for
industrial use as lubricants, surfactants and as oil for
consumption that should be further explored. F eeding
trial experiments conducted in savannas areas of Nigeria
have shown that ackee leaves are good fodder resource
for West A frican Dwar f goats especially in the dry sea-
son [25]. This is probably good news for a nimal bree-
ders in the region because ackee trees flush during dry
seasons i n many part of West Africa when the availabil-
ity of grasses to feed ruminants decreases drastically.
Some of the medicinal values attribut ed to ackee in
Benin are known in other countries where the species
occurs as well. The bar k is used in Ivory Coast together
with some spices to relieve pains; leaves and barks are
used in association to t reat sore stomach, epilepsy and
yellow fever in Columbia [26]. In Ghana, the bark is one
of the ingredient s used in a concoction administered for
epilepsy; leave juice is used for washing or as drops f or
sore eyes, conjunctivitis and trachoma; the pulp of
twiggy leaves is applied on the forehead to treat
migraine/headache [26]. B. sapida is also a natural
source of carboxycyclopropylglycine used in pharmacy.
The extraction of this non-proteinogenic amino acid
from ackee offers the po ssi bility o f avoiding t he exp en-
sive synthetic procedures [27]. Furthermore, B. sapida
has antidi abetic activity [28]. The use of this important
traditional medicinal knowledge in a rational way
remains a challenge to modern scientific disciplines
such as pharmacology. More research is necessary to
analyze the properties and therap eutic virtues attributed
to the soap as a preliminary step to the mechanization
of the production. The confirmation of the virtues of
ackee soap can boost its production an d contr ibute to a
better val orisation of the eno rmous quantity of capsules
and seeds that are usually thrown away.
Ackee is not well known in Benin for its utility as
repellent. How ever, experiments conducted in Trinidad
and Tobago had shown that other fruit parts (epidermis,
aril and seed) have repellent properties against s tored-
product insect pests, namely, Callosobruchus maculatus,
Cryptolestes ferrugineus, Tribolium castaneum and Sito-
philus zeamais [29,30].
Traditional management and domestication of ackee
The various differentiation criteria of ackee trees men-
tioned above calls for an appropriate characterization to
investigate t he existen ce of eventual varieties, and/or to
detect the effect of the ongoing domestication process
practiced by farmers in their different land-use systems.
For instance, the positive corr elation report ed between
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fruitsizeandarilsizeneedstobetestedbymorpho-
metric study to characterize the diversity of ackee fruits
traits.
All traditional silvicultural management practices to
improve the production were reported for other impor-
tant agroforestry parkland species such as Vitellaria
paradoxa and Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R.Br. ex Benth. in
West Africa [31]. There is a consensus among local peo-
ple that these management pract ices favour the abun-
dance of better phenotypes, in this case fruits with
preferred traits. This link between management techni-
ques and the perception of variation suggests that there
is selection going on with a tendency to increase pheno-
types pro ducing desired fruits in managed populations.
However, reasons for the superior perception of trees
under management need further analyses. It is particu-
larly challenging and important to d istinguish genetic
from environment impacts on phenotypes.
Evidence that farmers have domesticated other African
indigenous trees has been reported for Dacryodes edulis
H.J. Lam and Irvingia gabonensis (Aubry-Lecomte ex
ORork e) Baill. [32-34]; Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.
[35] and Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst. subsp.
caffra (Sond.) Kokwaro[36]. Processes of plants domesti-
cation associated to silvicultural management were also
documented for many species in the Tehuacán Valle y of
Mexico including Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccob.
[37] and Ceiba aesculifolia (Kunth) Britten & Baker [38].
Implications for improvement and conservation of ackee
genetic resources
In general, the ethnobotanical survey revealed clearly
that indigenous knowledge about ackee varies according
to ethnic group and gender. Particularly three ethnic
groups ( Batombu, Ot amari and Nat emba) ha d a great
knowledge about the s pecies. In addition, the mu ltivari-
ate analysis showed also clearly the separation between
the knowledge of men and women within the Otamari,
Batombu and Yoruba communities.
Selection or breeding programs should focus on ackee
trees with preferred traits important for local popula-
tions. For instance when looking at preferred fruit trai ts,
this study showed that ackee fruit size is the most
important trait for m en (Bat ombu, Otamari and Yor-
uba). Fruit shape, aril colour, aril size and aril taste were
the preferred fruit traits for Batombu women, Otamari
men a nd all Yoruba and Natemba. Those diffe rences
needs to be taken into account in any research/develo p-
ment programs related to germplasm sampling and
ackee improvement.
Domestication can reduce the genetic diversity of wild
populations if cultivars replace autochthonous popula-
tions on a large scale. It can also increase the level of
variability at desired traits in semi-domesticated
populations suggesting that varieties may have multiple
origins [1,34]. The effect of the artifici al selection
reported in this study on the genetic diversity and
structure of ackee is not yet known and nee ds to be
evaluated properly. This prerequisite is essential to
avoid that the intensificationofthedomesticationpro-
cess will lead to a progressive elimination of i ndividuals
with non-desired quality, and a subsequent loss o f
genetic diversity.
Conservation of ackee genetic resources can be done
effectively through cultivation o f the species in agrofor-
estry systems, i ts maintenance on protected areas wh ere
they occurs and maintenance of seeds in gene banks.
Since preferred traits vary among ethnic gr oups and
gender, the strategy should be specific and shou ld target
not only the morphotypes recognized by local popula-
tions but should also integrate the population genetics
information.
Acknowledgements
This research was supported by research grant from the International
Foundation for Science (IFS, Stockholm, Sweden) and Bioversitys Abdou-
Salam Ouédraogo Fellowship to Marius R.M. Ekué. Farmers surveyed are
greatly acknowledged for sharing their knowledge with us.
Author details
1
Forest Genetics and Forest Tree Breeding, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August
University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.
2
Laboratoire dEcologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques,
Université dAbomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Cotonou, Bénin.
3
Sub-Saharan African
Forest Genetic Resources Programme, Bioversity International c/o CIFOR
Regional Office In Cameroon PO Box 2008 Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon.
Authors contributions
EMRM designed and performed the field work, analyzed and wrote the
draft. SB and E-MO gave technical support and conceptual advices. FR
supervised the work and improved the manuscript.
All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Received: 5 January 2010 Accepted: 19 March 2010
Published: 19 March 2010
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doi:10.1186/1746-4269-6-12
Cite this article as: Ekué et al.: Uses, traditional management,
perception of variation and preferences in ackee (Blighia sapida K.D.
Koenig) fruit traits in Benin: implications for domestication and
conservation. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2010 6:12.
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http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/6/1/12
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... O'Rorke) Baill.; safou tree, Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam; and vegetable tallow tree (Allanblackia floribunda Oliv.)] [22], studies on participatory breeding in African indigenous fruit tree crops are limited [23]. In addition, these participatory studies mostly focused on "farmers" and did not integrate other user target groups such as final consumers or even processors, whose preferences are equally important and could somehow affect the definition of breeding objectives. ...
... In contrast, a high similarity was observed between Benin and Togo farmers for trait preference in groundnut [15,29]. In ackee (Blighia sapida K.D. Koenig), a minor multipurpose fruit tree species, preference for fruit-traits varied among Benin sociolinguistic groups; the Batoonuu group considered exclusively the fruit size, the Natemba group preferred the aril colour, while the Otamari rather indicated the aril size as their trait of interest [23]. Instances of sociolinguistic group-specific preferred breeding traits were also reported in Kersting's groundnut [Macrotyloma geocarpum (Harms) Maréchal and Baudet] [17], groundnut [29] and African locust bean (Parkia biglobosa Jacques) [30], among other crop species. ...
... In this study, although seeds and seedlings were co-used by respondents, most of them established their trees/plantations using seedlings. This preference for seedlings transplanting was also reported in B. sapida [23] and G. kola [52] two other minor orphan tree crops, and partly appeared in the case of S. dulcificum as a strategy to skirt the difficulty to germinate its recalcitrant seeds [4]. According to farmers, using the seed compels one to quickly sow it, which is not the case with seedlings that have been harvested beneath S. dulcificum plants or orchards of which planting can be postponed and carried out later. ...
Article
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Background Understanding end-users’ preferred breeding traits and plant management practices is fundamental in defining sound breeding objectives and implementing a successful plant improvement programme. Since such knowledge is lacking for Synsepalum dulcificum , a worldwide promising orphan fruit tree species, we assessed the interrelationships among socio-demography, ecology, management practices, diversity and ranking of desired breeding traits by end-users of the species (farmers, final consumers and processing companies) in West Africa. Methods Semi-structured interviews, field-visits and focus groups were combined to interview a total of 300 farmers and final consumers belonging to six sociolinguistic groups sampled from three ecological zones of Benin and Ghana. One processing company in Ghana was also involved. Data collected included socio-demographic characteristics; crop management systems and practices; and preferences of farmers, final consumers and processing companies and ranking of breeding traits. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, independence, and non-parametric tests, generalized linear models, multi-group similarity index and Kendall’s concordance coefficient. Results Men (86.33% of respondents) were the main holders of S. dulcificum in the study area. The three most frequent management practices observed in the species included weeding, fertilization and pruning, which were applied by 75.66%, 27.33% and 16.66% of respondents, respectively. The management intensity index varied significantly across ecological zones, sociolinguistic groups, and instruction level ( p < 0.001) but was not affected by gender ( p > 0.05). General multigroup similarity indices ( $$ {\mathrm{C}}_{\mathrm{S}}^{\mathrm{T}} $$ C S T ) for farmer-desired traits, on one hand, and final consumer-desired traits, on the other hand, were high across ecological zones ( $$ {\mathrm{C}}_{\mathrm{S}}^{\mathrm{T}} $$ C S T ≥ 0.84) and sociolinguistic groups ( $$ {\mathrm{C}}_{\mathrm{S}}^{\mathrm{T}} $$ C S T > 0.83). Nevertheless, respondents from the Guineo-Congolian (Benin) and the Deciduous forest (Ghana) zones expressed higher agreement in the ranking of desired breeding traits. Preference for breeding traits was 60% similar among farmers, final consumers, and processors. The key breeding traits desired by these end-users included in descending order of importance big fruit size, early fruiting, high fruit yielding (for farmers); big fruit size, high fruit miraculin content, fruit freshness (for final consumers); and high fruit miraculin content, big fruit size, high fruit edible ratio (for processing companies). Conclusion This study revealed stronger variations in current management practices across ecological zones than across sociolinguistic groups. A high similarity was shown in end-users’ preferences for breeding traits across the study area. Top key traits to consider in breeding varieties of S. dulcificum to meet various end-users’ expectations in West Africa include fruit size and fruit miraculin content. These results constitute a strong signal for a region-wide promotion of the resource.
... The climatic variable "the mean diurnal range in temp" (bio2) was of utmost importance in explaining the distribution of the Djallonké type. According to Sinsin and Kampmann (2010), the GCZ zone is characterized by a subequatorial climate with a bimodal rainfall regime (two rainy seasons and two dry seasons). Climatic conditions of the GCZ zone provide this goat type with a good level of environmental adaptation and resistance to trypanosomes (Wilson 1991;Molina-Flores et al. 2020). ...
... It predicts a slight expansion of its favorable habitat in the SZ zone under the RCP 8.5 scenario by 2055. This expansion, specifically in the phytogeographic zone of Chaîne Atacora, could be explained by the striking similarity between this zone and the GCZ zone in environmental conditions (Sinsin and Kampmann 2010). ...
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Insufficient knowledge of the genetic and phenotypic diversity in the local Beninese goat population combined with the lack of understanding of its adaptive capacity to ongoing environmental and societal changes hampers the development of strategies for better management and genetic improvement. The objective of this study was to establish the current geographical distribution of goats in Benin based on their morphology and model the potential habitat suitability of the three known main goat phenotypes (i.e., Djallonké goat or Type I, Sahelian goat or Type II, and their Crossbreeds or Type III) under climate change scenarios. Ten qualitative and 26 linear body measurements were taken on 2114 adult female goats sampled across the three vegetation zones of the country. Fifteen ratios were generated from the quantitative variables. The data were analyzed using generalized linear model procedures followed by multiple comparisons of least-squares means and multivariate analytical methods, including canonical discrimination analysis and hierarchical ascendant classification. Each goat was then assigned to one of the three aforementioned main goat phenotypes following its morphological characteristics and according to the a priori cluster membership defined in the previous step. The Maximum Entropy algorithm was used to model the current and future distribution of the three goat phenotypes under climate change scenario using the Representative Conservation Pathways 4.5 and 8.5. All linear body measurements varied among vegetation zones. In the discriminant function analysis, 71% of the measured individuals were correctly classified in their vegetation zone of origin by seven measured variables and three ratios. The cluster procedure analysis revealed two groups of goats subdivided into the three main phenotypes. The modeling results showed that the currently highly favorable habitats were distributed in the South for Type I, in the North for Type II, and both South and North for Type III. However, under climate change scenarios, the favorable habitats for Type I decreased while those of Types II and III increased. The results of this study confirm the spatial variation of the goat population in Benin. The habitat suitability model can be used to support decision-making toward better management of goat genetic diversity in Benin.
... A single plant species is used in different ways and in different areas, in different localities where it exists according to the needs and knowledge knew about this plant [9]. Despite the numerous studies on medicinal plants in Africa [18] and elsewhere in the world [19][20] it should be noted that enough studies carried out on aromatic plants are not yet done in Benin. As for the one in the hills department, it is the first study of its kind. ...
... Other studies have also shown that ethnobotanical knowledge related to plant species varies mostly with age, gender, and sociolinguistic group Ekué et al [18] Fandohan et al. [25] Gouwaknnou et al. [26] Assogbadjo et al. [27] and Assongba [1]. This study was conducted among herbalists and it should be noted that these people were reluctant on information, this is moreover the reason for taking a large enough sample to be able to mobilize enough information, this confirms the results of Adomou [8], on a study conducted among women plant sellers in the market of Cotonou. ...
Article
Aromatic and medicinal plants (AMP) are flora with a fragrant essence. The aim of this study is to identify the aromatic plants used by herbalists in three districts of the Departement des Collines. The method of data collection is based on ethnobotanical surveys of herbalists using the Dagnelli formula and pre-established survey questionnaires. The results of the survey of 300 herbalists identified 22 most commonly used aromatic plants, divided into 17 families and 21 genera. The most represented families are Lamiaceae (15%); Annonaceae (15%). Among the MAPs inventoried, the most cited and used are: Ocimum canum L. Ocimum gratissimum L.; Chenopodium ambrosioides L.; Hyptis suaveolens L.; Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich; Securidaca longepedunculata Fresen. MAPs treat 163 conditions identified in this study. Some of the AMP are used alone or in combination with other plants. AMP drugs are: leaves (64%), roots (23%). The ailments treated by the majority of AMP are: fever; tooth decay; conjunctivitis; constipation; haemorrhoids; hernia; inflammation; skin lesion; stomach ache; snakebite; causes of malaria; sores and painful periods. In view of the proven importance and different uses of AMP, it is necessary to study them further (ecology, distribution, and conservation status) in order to better prevent or cure human health.
... Perceptions-or cultural interpretations of sensory and biological information [12]-play a major role in farmers' management decisions. Perceptions of crop traits vary across ethnic groups [13,14]. Culturally specific names of local crop varieties reflect these different perceptions to some extent and provide insight into owners' preferences, whether agronomic, aesthetic, or culinary [15,16]. ...
... These uses respond to different needs and constraints, both for cultivators themselves (ecological benefits, consumption qualities, cultural significance) and for use on the market, in order to take advantage of commercial opportunities [95]. Uses and preferences are functionally related in that different traits valued for local varieties correspond to different uses [13,96]. In our case, the main uses-selfconsumption, sales-are, respectively, associated with fruit taste and fruit size. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Understanding the perceptions, preferences and management practices associated with intraspecific variability of emblematic African tree crops is critical for their sustainable management. In this paper, we examine how the agrobiodiversity of a fruit tree species native to Central Africa, the African plum tree (Dacryodes edulis), is perceived and managed by Cameroonian cultivators. Methods Semi-structured interviews and tree surveys were conducted over four months with 441 African plum tree owners from three different ethnic groups (Bamileke, Bassa, Beti) in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Questions focused on trees owners’ perceptions—including the local nomenclature—preferences and management practices related to African plum trees and their intraspecific agrobiodiversity. Results Across the three ethnic groups in the study area, more than 300 different local varietal names were recorded. These were mainly based on morphological and organoleptic traits, with two-thirds of the names referring to fruit size, skin color and fruit taste. The same traits were used by tree owners to describe their fruit preferences, but their relative importance in shaping fruit preferences varied among groups. The preferences of urban dwellers from different ethnic groups when purchasing African plum fruit focused on the fruit’s taste characteristics, while those of rural dwellers differed among ethnic groups. In rural areas, where African plums are sold and consumed by their growers, the preferences of Bassa consumers reflect quantity (fruit size) over quality (fruit taste or skin color) considerations. These preferences are reflected in the choice of seeds used for planting. Bassa owners sought seeds from trees with large fruits (with 34.8% of Bassa owners giving top priority to this trait as a selection criterion) to a significantly greater extent than Bamileke and Beti owners who prioritized taste and skin color instead. Among tree growers who selectively retained African plum trees in their fields, 44% considered tree productivity as a primary selection criterion. Conclusions Findings linking perceptions of and preferences for fruit traits to intraspecific tree diversity, with attention to inter-ethnic and rural–urban differences, will help design locally specific measures to conserve the agrobiodiversity of African plum in the context of its ongoing domestication.
... This study was conducted in the 10 phytogeographic zones (Fig 1) that comprise the three vegetation zones of Benin [22,23], namely the Guinea-Congolian (GCZ), the Guineo-Sudanian transition (GSZ) zone and the Sudanian zone (SZ). The characteristics of the 10 phytogeographic zones, such as climatic conditions, temperature, humidity index, soil characteristics, and predominant vegetation, are presented in Table 1. ...
... In addition, according to these authors their long legs might predispose them to travel long distances when searching for pastures. Moreover, their large height might allow them to feed easily in tree and shrubs savannah pastures, which are predominant in these regions [22,23]. But confirmation of these hypotheses requires further study and remains inconclusive. ...
Article
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Knowledge of both the genetic diversity and geographical distribution of animal genetic resources is a prerequisite for their sustainable utilization, improvement and conservation. The present study was undertaken to explore the current morphological variability within the sheep population in Benin as a prelude for their molecular characterization. From November 2018 to February 2020, 25 quantitative linear body measurements and 5 qualitative physical traits were recorded on 1240 adult ewes from the 10 phytogeographic zones that comprise the three vegetation zones of Benin. Fourteen morphological indices were calculated based on the linear body measurements. The collected data were first analyzed using multiple comparisons of least-square means (LSmeans), followed by generalized linear model (GLM) procedures, to explore the relationships among the measured morphometric traits and the 10 phytogeographic zones. Next, the presence of any genetic sub-populations was examined using multivariate analytical methods, including canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) and ascending hierarchical clustering (AHC). Univariate analyses indicated that all quantitative linear body measurements varied significantly (P
... This result confirms our hypothesis that shea tree classification is mainly based on fruit variants and is consistent with the findings of Gwali et al. [32] in Uganda and Karambiri et al. [13] and Sandwidi et al. [14] in Burkina Faso. Ekué et al. [33] also reported for Blighia sapida K.D. Koenig that differentiation criteria included fruit size, which was by far the most quoted criterion by farmers in Benin. Similarly, in a study on farmer classifications of the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) in West Africa, Assogbadjo et al. [10] recognized 'male' and 'female' baobab trees. ...
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Full-text available
Trait diversity is crucial in undertaking the domestication of useful species such as Vitellaria paradoxa which makes a significant contribution to the rural household economy in Africa. This study aims to document the criteria farmers use to distinguish shea trees; how they vary according to age, education level and sociolinguistic group; and their perception of trees’ abundance and production. We surveyed 405 respondents across shea parklands in Benin using a semi-structured questionnaire. We used the Kruskal-Wallis test to evaluate the influence of sociodemographic attributes on relative criteria citation frequency and principal components analysis to characterize farmers’ perception on morphotypes’ abundance, fruits, and butter yields. The five most cited criteria were fruit size (55.5%), tree fertility (15.40%), bark colour (10.51%), timing of production (5.38%), and pulp taste (3.42%). The citation frequency of criteria varied significantly depending on the sociodemographic factors considered. Trees having small fruit (‘Yanki’) were reported to be widespread and high fruit/nuts and butter producers. Farmers perceived five important traits with variable importance depending on the sociocultural factors studied. This finding is a key step toward the development of a shea improvement program that could focus on the morphotype Yanki reported to potentially be a high fruit and butter producer.
... It is sometimes called ackee, ackee apple, or vegetable brain. The seeds and capsules of the fruits are used for soap-making and fishing and all parts of the tree have medicinal properties (Ekué et al, 2010). The unripe arils have been known for its high toxic level of hypoglycin A. This toxic property is largely dispelled by light as the jacket opens. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the present study, phytochemical constituents, antioxidant and cytotoxicity activities of leaves of two species of Blighia: B. sapida K.D. Koenig and B. unijugata Baker (Sapindaceae) from Nigeria were analyzed using standard techniques. The antioxidant activities of the crude extract was carried out using the Ferric thiocynate, Hydrogen Peroxide and the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picyrylhydrazyl (DPPH) methods. Leaf ethanol extracts of the two samples were evaluated for brine shrimp cytotoxicity test using Artemia salina. Phytochemical screening indicated the presence of saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides and phenolics in the two species. Also, B. sapida showed the presence of steroids and anthraquinones. B. unijugata demonstrated a consistently high antioxidant activity in contrast to B. sapida which showed no visible reaction at the lower concentrations using the Ferric thiocynate method. Both plant species showed promising antioxidant activity considering their scavenging effect on Hydrogen Peroxide. The DPPH method indicated that the antioxidant activity of B.sapida showed a significant free radical activity in a concentration dependent manner. Its action was comparable to standard antioxidants like ascorbic acid (vitamic C) and tocopherol (Vitamin E). B.unijugata showed a low antioxidant activity. B. sapida showed a higher toxicity activity of LC50 114.9 ug/ml. This study indicated that the result of a particular antioxidant assay depends on the chemistry of the assay and the nature and combination of bioactive principle in the material under investigation. Also, there is an indication that phytochemical, antioxidant and cytotoxicity data could provide useful clues to the understanding of species diversity in this genus.
... This similarity in the number of trees owned might partly be attributed to the fact that both women and men are increasingly being exposed to similar social beliefs and norms (e.g., superstition). Because socio-cultural norms strongly differed among sociolinguistic groups and that the perception of such norms and beliefs also varied among religions [37], the observed significant difference among sociolinguistic groups and among religions for the number of miracle plant owned did not come as a surprise [22]. Indeed, the sociolinguistic groups from Ghana practising Christianity at more than 98% (Table 1) held by far more miracle plant trees than Benin sociolinguistic groups whose respondents mainly practised indigenous religions. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the growing interest in the miracle plant worldwide due to its numerous applications, the threats and the wild harvest of the species hamper its sustainable utilisation. Moreover, traditional knowledge so far documented on the species is limited to a narrow geographical coverage of its natural distribution range, which is West and Central Africa. This study analysed the use variation and knowledge acquisition pattern of the miracle plant among West African sociolinguistic groups and deciphered the drivers of populations’ willingness and readiness to engage in cultivating the species. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 510 respondents purposively selected from nine sociolinguistic groups in Benin and Ghana using the snowball sampling approach. Information was collected on respondents’ socio-demographic profile, miracle plant ownership, plant parts used and preparation methods, knowledge of the species bioecology, perceived threats on the species, willingness to cultivate, maximum acreage to allocate to the species and maximum price to pay for a seedling. Descriptive statistics, generalized linear models, classification and regression tree models were used for data analysis. The miracle plant ownership mode depended on the age category. Sociolinguistic affiliation, level of schooling, migratory status and religion significantly affected the number of trees owned. We recorded 76 uses belonging to six use categories. The overall use-value of the miracle plant significantly varied according to the respondent sociolinguistic affiliation, main activity and religion. Men were the main source of knowledge and knowledge is mainly acquired along the family line. Knowledge related to food and social uses was mostly acquired from parents and people of the same generation, while magico-therapeutic and medicinal use-related knowledge were inherited from parents and grandparents. Sociolinguistic affiliation, awareness of taboos and market availability were the most important drivers of respondent willingness to cultivate the miracle plant. While the respondent’s level of schooling and perception of plant growth rate determined the maximum acreage they were willing to allocate to the species in cultivation schemes, their main activity, sociolinguistic affiliation and knowledge of the species time to fruiting drove the maximum purchase price they were willing to offer for a seedling of the species. Our findings provide key information for the promotion of miracle plant cultivation in the study area.
... This result con rms that shea tree classi cation is mainly based on fruits variants as reported by Gwali et al. [39] in Uganda, Karambiri et al. [23] and Sandwidi et al. [37]in Burkina Faso. Ekué et al. [40] also reported for Blighia sapida K.D. Koenig that differentiation criteria included fruit size which was by far the most quoted criterion by farmers in Benin. Similarly, in a study on farmer classi cations of baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in West Africa, they recognized 'male' and 'female' baobab trees [41]. ...
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Background: Local knowledge and perception are crucial to undertake the domestication of useful species such as Vitellaria paradoxa that makes significant contribution to rural household economy in Africa. This study aims to document shea morphotypes diversity based on folk knowledge especially the main criteria farmers used to distinguish shea trees and to examine the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on that knowledge. Methods: 405 respondents were surveyed across shea parklands in Benin using semi-structured questionnaire. We used the relative citation frequency of criteria followed by Kruskal-Wallis test to evaluate the influence of sociodemographic attributes on local knowledge of Shea morphotypes variation. Factorial Correspondence Analysis described the links between the different morphotypes and parklands, and Principal Components Analysis was used to characterize farmers perception on morphotypes’ abundance, fruits and butter yields. Results: Respondents identified 13 morphotypes based on the five most cited criteria which are fruit size (55.5%), tree fertility (15.40%), bark colour (10.51%), timing of production (5.38%) and pulp taste (3.42%). The citation frequency of classification criteria varied significantly depending on the age, the education level and the sociolinguistic group of the respondent. The Bembèrèkè zone shea parkland revealed higher diversity of morphotypes traits. The small fruit type (‘Yanki’) was reported to be widespread. It produces higher fruit and butter yields according to respondents. Conclusions: From our findings, farmers perceived an important diversity of shea traits that are used to classify morphotypes with economic or sociocultural importance. The revelation of that natural variation in shea tree is a key step toward the development of shea improvement program that could focus on the morphotype Yanki reported to be potentially high in fruit production and butter yield.
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This article put the emphasis on the importance in food security of Non Timber Forest Products and particularly of the ackee (Blighia sapida). It puts forward its socio-economic role for the households of the department Atacora through the uses and the functions of B. sapida in Northwestern Bénin. In fact, the resource-specie Blighia sapida functions seem undervalued and little known comparatively with the wood exploitation of the forest belts. This article underlines the traditional, cultural and agroforestry functions of B. sapida which are daily exploited in many ways by the rural households of districts of Kouaba and Toucountouna in the department Atacora.
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We execute tree `domestication' as a farmer-driven and market-led process, which matches the intraspecific diversity of locally important trees to the needs of subsistence farmers, product markets, and agricultural environments. We propose that the products of such domesticated trees are called Agroforestry Tree Products (AFTPs) to distinguish them from the extractive tree resources commonly referred to as non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The steps of such a domestication process are: selection of priority species based on their expected products or services; definition of an appropriate domestication strategy considering the farmer-, market-, and landscape needs; sourcing, documentation and deployment of germplasm (seed, seedlings or clonal material); and tree improvement research (tree breeding or cultivar selection pathways). The research phase may involve research institutions on their own or in participatory mode with the stakeholders such as farmers or communities. Working directly with the end-users is advantageous towards economic, social and environmental goals, especially in developing countries. Two case studies (Prunus africana and Dacryodes edulis) are presented to highlight the approaches used for medicinal and fruit-producing species. Issues for future development include the expansion of the program to a wider range of species and their products and the strengthening of the links between product commercialization and domestication. It is important to involve the food industry in this process, while protecting the intellectual property rights of farmers to their germplasm.
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A feeding trial to evaluate the potential of Blighia sapida K Konig leaves as a dry season feed resource for West African Dwarf goat in the derived savanna zone of Nigeria was carried out. Twenty WAD bucks of comparable age and weight were randomly assigned to five treatment groups of Blighia sapida K Konig: Cynodon dactylon diet in ratio 100:0; 75: 25; 50:50; 25: 75 and 0:100 respectively and each treatment was replicated four times. Data were collected on feed intake and nutrient digestibility and analyzed in a completely randomized design. Feed intake and nutrient digestibility differed significantly (P<0.05) among treatments. In the parameters measured. 100:0 Bligha sapida: Cynodon dactylon had the highest value followed by Bs. 75:Cd25. It was concluded based on feed intake and digestibility data that Bligha sapida K Konig leaves could be a very good feed resource for West African Dwarf goats especially in the dry season.
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Studies were conducted to determine the component fruit part of ackee (Blighia sapida Koenig) that had the most repellent properties against stored-product insect pests, namely, Callosobruchus maculatus, Cryptolestes ferrugineus, and Sitophilus zeamais. In Experiment 1, B. sapida fruits were harvested at stages 2, 3, 5, and 7 of development and soaked for 48 h in 400 mL of either acetone, ethanol, or water (100°C) before being tested against the three insect pests. Based on the results of Experiment 1, Experiment 2 was conducted. Blighia sapida fruit parts (epidermis, pulp, aril, and seed) at Stage 3 of fruit development were soaked for 48 h in each of two solvents, acetone and ethanol, after which they were tested against the three stored-product insect pests. The third experiment was conducted to determine the dosage that would repel 50% of the insect population (RD50) for each insect pest species and to determine the longevity of each extract before re-application on stored products. In the fourth experiment, the RD50 dosage obtained for each insect pest species was used to treat either holding bags or chickpea (Cicer arietinum) to determine the longevity of protection. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that Stage 3 of development of B. sapida was the most effective in repelling the three insect pests, and acetone and ethanol were better at extracting the repellent properties than water. There was also high mortality (>60%) when C. maculatus was left exposed to the extracts for >24 h. In the second experiment, the results indicated that all fruit parts had a significant effect on the three insect pests, and although the pulp and aril statistically had the greatest repellency, only the epidermis significantly repelled all three pests. The results of the third experiment indicated that the RD50 for C. maculatus was 1.14 mL L- 1 at 10-50% extract concentration (epidermis-acetone extract), for S. zeamais it was 58.85 mL L-1 at 75% extract concentration (aril-acetone extract), and for C. ferrugineus it was 136.20 mL L-1 at 100% extract concentration (pulp-ethanol extract). The results of Experiment 4 showed that treating chickpea (Cicer arietinum) seeds and holding bags with the respective RD50 concentrations, that C. maculatus was repelled for at least 12 days, S. zeamais for 7 days, and C. ferrugineus for approximately 5 days.
Article
Three experiments were conducted at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad, between 1999 and 2001 to investigate the bioactivity of the dried seed powder and aril extract of ackee (Blighia sapida Koenig) on three stored-product insect pests, viz., Tribolium castaneum (Herbst.), Callosobruchus maculatus (L.), and Sitophilus zeamais Motsch. In Experiment 1, B. sapida seeds were finely ground and mixed with pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) or maize (Zea mays) in concentrations of 0.01, 0.05, and 0.1 g g-1 dry weight and introduced to the three insect species for 24 h and the number of insects on the treated seeds were counted. In Experiment 2, the oviposition preferences of the males and females of each insect species to the treatments were compared to an untreated control. In Experiment 3, extracts of the aril of B. sapida were prepared using ethanol, acetone, hexane, methanol, chloroform, and water. Pigeonpea- and maize-treated seeds were offered to the three insect species for 48 h and insect mortality, number of eggs produced, and grain weight after feeding were recorded. The results showed that B. sapida powder-treated seeds affected the three insect pest species, but at varying repellency. There was at least a 50% reduction in the number of eggs oviposited for all three insect pests. The aril-water extracts induced significant (P < 0.05) mortality and antifeedant effects in all three insect pests, but affected the fecundity of only C. maculatus. The other extracts showed varying degrees of success. The LC50 indicated that water is a successful extracting agent and hence could be safely used by farmers.
Article
In the Guinean pre-forest savannas of Ivory Coast, rural people consume many wild edible fruits. There is a significant trade of some wild fruits, but most of them are eaten raw at gathering sites. While a small number of fruit species are selected when clearing land for cultivation, the majority of them are destroyed and replaced by economic crops. From an ethnobotanical approach consisting in “open-ended” and semi-structured interviews, 75 wild edible fruit species, known by the Malinké ethnic group of Séguéla (a department in the northwest of the Ivory Coast), were inventoried. Among them, about 55 wild fruits were particularly investigated and were classified according to their importance for local peoples. Several fruit categories were identified going from the ones that are well known and regularly eaten to those that are unknown and not used. The study revealed that many edible wild fruits are still unknown or insufficiently exploited in the region, in spite of their nutritional values. It was concluded that the valorization of these resources could be beneficial for the people concerned. © 2001 FAC UNIV SCIENCES AGRONOMIQUES GEMBLOUX. All rights reserved.