Proximate and mineral composition of shea (vitellaria Paradoxa c.f. Gaertn) fruit pulp in uganda
AbstractThe shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa,C.F.Gaertn) is an indigenous fruit tree distributed in the shea parklands of Africa. The shea fruit is an important source of food for rural communities especially at time of food shortages, hunger and other disasters in addition to providing enormous health benefit and income. Because of its role in combating food insecurity and sustaining rural livelihoods, an assessment of the nutritional composition of shea fruit pulp was carried out in Uganda. Samples of shea fruits were collected from Katakwi, Lira, Pader and Arua districts in Teso, Lango,
Acholi and West Nile sub regions in Uganda, respectively, between April and August 2007. For each district, a composite shea fruit sample was analysed for moisture content, total ash, crude oil, crude fibre, crude protein, vitamin C, carbohydrates and calorific values. The mineral composition was analysed for calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and iron. The total ash, crude oil, crude fibre, crude protein, total carbohydrate, vitamin C and caloric values ranged between 3.6-5.9%, 1.5-3.5%, 10-15%, 3.1-4.2%, 12.4-19.4%, 85.6-124.9mg/100g and 77.6-89.2 Kcal/100g, respectively (dry weight basis). Ca, K, Mg, Na and Fe values in the pulp ranged from 35.2-95.6 mg/100g, 42.0-63.6 mg/100g, 18.1-24.2mg/100g, 7.1-18.1mg/100gm and 3.4-3.8 mg/100g, respectively. There was a significant variation (P0.05) in the crude
proteins, crude fibre, Vitamin C values and mineral compositions of the shea fruit pulp from the different shea sub-regions in Uganda. These variations could be due to differences in prevailing environmental factors. The results show clearly that shea fruit pulp has adequate nutrients equivalent to other edible fruits and should be promoted in human nutrition. Its Na/K ratio (0.14-0.35) also makes the shea fruit a
valuable resource for managing high blood pressure; an emerging non-communicable disease in most developing countries. To promote wide consumption of shea fruits, the influence of environmental factors and season of harvest on its nutritional composition needs to be investigated.
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