Status and utilisation of Moringa oleifera Lam: A review
AbstractMoringa oleifera (Moringaceae) is a medium-size agroforestry tree that originated from south Asia, but has become naturalised in many countries globally. Moringa oleifera has gained importance due to its multipurpose uses and good adaptability to both humid and dry climates. Almost all parts of the plant are used. The species is considered as a neglected and underutilised as its potential is still not well economically known and valued. This review presents the status and factors responsible for underutilisation of this, otherwise important crop as a basis for formulation of viable development strategies of knowledge on taxonomy, distribution, diverse utilisations, nutritional value, socioeconomic importance, morphological and genetic diversity, domestication, propagation and management of M. oleifera. Knowledge gaps, and research and development avenues are suggested and discussed for improved valorisation. To that purpose, articles were searched in Google Scholar, Web of Science and BioMed Central database with relevant keywords on M. oleifera. All the articles found, including reviews and peer-reviewed articles were critically read and analysed for inclusion in this review. Findings revealed that the species is one of the most studied and used species with various uses stretching from food and medicinal uses to water purification, biopesticide and production of biodiesel. Findings also highlight high morphological and genetic diversity of the species, which may become a resource for the conservation and the selection of germplasm. However, many aspects of the species are still waiting for further research.
Key words: Domestication, economy, genetic resources, Moringa oleifera, nutrition value