Nutritional evaluation of ficus carica indigenous to Pakistan
AbstractThe nutritional composition of Ficus carica commonly known as fig is of great interest as it is considered a good source of energy and minerals. Seven samples of fig, cultivated in Pakistan were studied for their physico-chemical properties. All samples had little moisture, less amounts of ash and high volatile matters. Low moisture is favorable in preventing the fermentation of the fruit while high volatiles are responsible for its unique taste. The energy content of the samples ranged between 337.60 - 364.70 kcal/100g. The samples were found to be a good source of potassium (3.82-6.11 g/kg), magnesium (0.11-0.20 g/kg), calcium (78.72-132.80 mg/kg) and sodium (5.58-17.69 mg/kg). The mineral and trace contents of the indigenous samples were compared with the samples cultivated in the USA, Turkey and Iran. The samples cultivated in Pakistan were found to have good nutritional values especially higher calorific value and iron content compared to the reported data. The Ca/P ratio in the indigenous variety lies as recommended by nutritionists. This feature made the indigenous variety distinct as the patients suffering from stone formation in kidney may also use it safely. The high potassium in fig is beneficial not only to patients of hypertension but also prevents the bones from rapid thinning by neutralizing the increased urinary calcium loss. Significant correlations were found between iron and potassium, copper and potassium and zinc and copper (p<0.05). The positive correlations are either due to higher uptake of metals by the plant or the excess availability of the metals in the soil. Analysis of means (ANOM) was applied to evaluate the compositional variations between the samples. The study provides an overview of the physico-chemical properties of fig samples indigenous to Pakistan. The results offer useful information not only to consumers who want to buy the best quality fruit, but also to producers interested in increasing the competitiveness of fig cultivation.
Key words: Ficus carica, minerals, calorific value, acidity
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