Identification and analysis of nutritional components of Enset (Ensete ventricosum) landraces suitable for corm production in Southern Ethiopia
Enset (Ensete ventricosum) produces a nutritious human food from its vigorous pseudostem, corm and the stalk of inflorescence. Among the many different food made from Enset is 'Amicho ', which is a stripped corm of a younger plant of Enset, boiled and consumed in a way similar to Irish potato, sweet potato and cassava. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and formal survey were conducted in two weredas, one from each of two densely populated Enset growing zones (namely Sidama and Hadiya zones in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia) to collect Enset landraces suitable for edible corm production and assess their nutrient contents. Eleven Enset land races suitable for edible corm production were identified and planted at Hawassa University experimental field for further investigation. The result of nutritional analysis showed a marked significant variability in the nutritional composition of the corms; this made the selection of nutritionally-rich Enset landraces possible. Large differences in protein content (0.90 to 2.39%), crude fibre (0.83 to 1.1%), carbohydrates (27.3 to 39.4 ), Fe (1.1 to 4.3 mg/100 gm), Zn (6.2 to 15.6 mg/100 gm) and Beta carotene (1 .5 to 22.2 μg/100 gm) were recorded. 'Agade', 'Askala', and 'Gossalo' landraces had the highest protein, carbohydrates and Beta-carotene contents, respectively. 'Made' contained the highest crude fibre, Fe and Zn contents. The average protein content (1.4%) of corms of the Enset landraces was comparable to the average protein content of most root and tuber crops; whereas, the average Fe and Zn contents of corms of the Enset landraces were higher than the values reported for most root and tuber crops. The average energy and dry matter production rates of corms of the Enset landraces were about 124% and 169% higher, respectively than the average values for root and tuber crops. While Enset is conventionally perceived as having relatively low nutritional content when compared with other root and tuber crops, the present study provides evidence that, contrary to popular perception, there are excelling nutritional values of corms of the Enset landraces for humans.
Keywords: Ensete ventricosum, landraces, corm, nutritional quality