The chemical constituents of calabash (Crescentia cujete)
Virtually, all parts of the calabash (Crescentia cujete) tree have been found to be useful; the wood for tool handles, ribs in boat building, cattle yokes, and the gourd is used for cups, containers and musical instruments. The calabash (C. cujete) fruit was studied for its chemical constituents- proximate and mineral composition as well as phytochemical properties. The sugar content, energy content, electrical conductivity and pH of the fruit were also determined. The value of the fat, protein, nitrogen, crude fibre, moisture content, sucrose, fructose, galactose and energy content are quite high viz; 1.13, 8.35, 1.34, 4.28, 84.92, 59.86, 25.09, 18.24 and 88.69%, respectively. The pH of the fruit falls within the acidic range (4.80) and the mean value recorded for the electrical conductivity was 163.24 μS/cm. The results obtained for the mineral elements show that sodium and phosphorus have high mean concentrations, while low mean concentrations were recorded for others. Also, the results show relatively low mean concentrations for the heavy metals; but high mean concentrations for manganese, iron, zinc and copper. The presence of phytochemicals like saponins, flavonoid, cardenolides, tannins and phenol as well as the presence of hydrogen cyanide were observed in the fruit sample. The findings on the phytochemical constituents, mineral composition and proximate composition of the C. cujete suggest that the fruit can make useful contribution to both human and animal nutrition and possesses medicinal values.
Key words: Crescentia cujete, chemical constituents, like saponins, flavonoid, cardenolides, tannins.