Variations in Amylase and Invertase activities in Solanum species (Eggplants) during ripening
Solanum species (eggplants) are edible, highly valued constituents of the Nigerian food and indigenous medicines. In this study, the activities of enzymes involved in carbohydrate degradation such as amylase and invertase were evaluated in two Solanum species viz Solanum melongena (round and oval varieties) and Solanum aethiopicum during different ripening stages. The activity of amylase was found to reduce significantly in both varieties of Solanum melongena (p < 0.01) while there was a non - significant reduction in amylase activity of Solanum aethiopicum (p > 0.01) from the unripe to the overripe stage. Also, invertase activity in both varieties of Solanum melongena was observed in this study to be significantly reduced (p<0.01) from the unripe to the overripe stage, with a non - significant reduction in invertase activity occurring in Solanium aethiopicum (p > 0.01). The variations observed in the activities of these carbohydrate degrading enzymes correlate with the decrease in glucose level that has been reported during ripening in Solanum species; thereby confirming the ripe and overripe eggplants as nutritionally good diet for diabetic patients and individuals, who are watching their weight.
Keywords: Carbohydrate degrading enzymes; Amylase; Invertase; Solanum spp.; Eggplants; Ripening