Nutritional value of commonly consumed desert date tree products

  • CA Okia
  • JG Agea
  • J Kwetegyeka
  • P Okiror
  • J Kimondo
  • Z Teklehaimanot
  • J Obua
Keywords: Balanites aegyptiaca, crude fat, crude protein, Uganda


The desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca, Del. L.) is one of the neglected staple crops of growing importance in the drought and famine-prone areas of Uganda. Unfortunately, information on its nutritional composition is still lacking, thus limiting their wider use and promotion. This study was designed to determine the nutritional composition of various parts of B. aegyptiaca eaten by Ugandans. Samples were collected from Katakwi, Adjumani and Moroto districts in Uganda. Dry matter content of the leaves, flowers and fruit pulp ranged from 95% in fruit pulp, to 98% in leaves and flowers. Ash content of the leaves and flowers was 8.07%; while that of the fruit pulp was 6.97%. Fat content of the leaves (2.29%) was significantly higher than that in fruit pulp (0.37%). Similarly, crude protein content was greater in the leaves and flowers (16.95%) than in the fruit pulp (5.4%). The leaves and flowers were generally richer in macronutrients than in fruit pulp in the order of K>Na>Mg with mean values of 19.54, 3.32 and 1.26 mg g-1. Iron was the most abundant micronutrient in all Balanites parts. This was followed by Mn, Zn and Cu with mean values of 452.21, 60.65, 35.69 and 25.49 μg g-1, respectively. A similar trend was found in fruit pulp. There is a need to determine the level of anti-nutritional factors in Balanites products and the effect of different leaf preparation methods on nutrient availability to further guide their wide usage.

Key Words: Balanites aegyptiaca, crude fat, crude protein, Uganda


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-6589
print ISSN: 1021-9730