An assessment of biochemical, phytochemical and antinutritional compositions of a tropical fern: nephrolepis cordifolia l.
This study determined the biochemical, nutrients, phytochemical, ascorbic acid; anti-nutritional, elemental and toxicity levels of the leaflets of Nephrolepis cordifolia mainly to investigate its nutritive potentials. Ground sample of dried leaflets was used to determine proximate and elemental analyses, dry matter, ascorbic acid and cyanide; phytate and oxalate as anti-nutritional substances. Na+, K+ and Ca²+ were determined using flame photometer while elemental composition was determined using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The results of the proximate analysis showed that it contained 10.28% protein, 65.40% moisture, 1.27% ash, 1.58% crude fibre, 21.47% carbohydrate while fat was not detected; 34.59 g/100 g dry matter and 23.76 mg/100 g ascorbic acid. The mineral elements present included Sodium 45.500 + 0.000 mg/L, Potassium 141.200 ± 0.007 mg/L, Calcium 26.900 ± 0.003 mg/L, Chromium 0.135 ± 0.002 mg/L, Iron 7.486 ± 0.042 mg/L, Manganese 0.689 ± 0.004 mg/L, Copper 7.242 ± 0.002 mg/L, Cadmium, 0. 149 ± 0.00 1 mg/L, Lead 1.017 ± 0.002 mg/L, Nickel 0.027 ± 0.006 mg/L, Zinc1.075 ± 0.002 mg/L. Arsenium and Magnesium were not detected. Phytochemical screening showed that saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides, reducing sugar and carbohydrates were present while flavonoids, philobatannins and alkaloids were not detected. The anti-nutritional compound found includes 0.06 mg/100 g oxalate but phytate was not detected and toxic component was 0.16/100 g hydrogen cyanide. Acid detergent fibre, neutral detergent fibre, hemi-cellulose and lignin were also determined. The absence of phytate and the extremely low levels of both oxalate and hydrogen cyanide in this plant are highly remarkable. Thus, the use of this plant as fodder and its extract as part of animals' diet may not pose any serious health problems to the ruminants eating it.
Key words: Anti-nutritional, Animal Feeds, Herbivore, Nephrolepis cordifolia, Toxicity Levels