The nutrient content of three edible plants of the Republic of Niger.
Glew-RS; VanderJagt-DJ; Bosse-R; Huang-YS; Chuang-LT; Glew-RH
J Food Comp Anal 2005 Feb; 18(1):15-27
People in Niger and elsewhere in the western Sahel consume wild and cultivated edible plants to satisfy their nutritional requirements. In many parts of the Republic of Niger farmers in rural areas produce insufficient yields of millet, the staple grain of the region. During periods of grain shortage people in rural Niger increase their reliance on wild plant foods to supplement their diets. Having a database of the nutrient content of wild and cultivated edible plants available in the region would be of value to educators and public health officials positioned to provide dietary advice to the food-stressed populations. Herein we report the fatty acid, amino acid and mineral and trace element content of three leafy plant foods collected in July 2002 in the villages of Droum and Zongon Mallam in the Republic of Niger: cecego (Sesbania pachycarpa), godilo/gudai (Crataeva religiosa), and cabbage leaf (Brassica oleracea var. capitata). All three plants contained large amounts of protein (18.6-36.2%) whose proportions of essential amino acids compared favorably with the WHO standard. Godilo/gudai and cabbage leaf contained large amounts of calcium (23.5-27.4 mg/g dry weight). All three plants contained potentially useful amounts of copper, zinc, iron, and a number of other essential minerals and trace elements, but no detectable selenium. However, the levels of the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid, were low compared to other edible plant foods that are widely available in Niger. The data in this report underscore the potential value and utility of wild edible plants relative to the nutrition of people who live in rural Niger and elsewhere in the Sahel.
Farmers; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Food-deprivation; Foodstuff; Plant-substances; Nutrition; Nutritional-disorders
RH Glew, Univ New Mexico, Sch Med, Dept Biochem & Mol Biol, 915 Camino Salud NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis