Determination of physico-chemical parameters, acute toxicity and heavy metals profile of Eleusine coracana seeds
Medicinal plants have been used for a very long time in the prevention and treatment of many ailments plaguing mankind. They contain phytochemicals and minerals which contribute to the pharmacological activities they exhibit. This study was carried out to investigate the proximate analysis, phytochemical and mineral constituents of the powdered seed of Eleusine coracana as well as to determine the acute toxicity profile of the powdered seeds. The results obtained showed that the seeds have low percentage moisture content 0.38 ± 0.14% (which is beneficial for longer shelf life); Total Ash value 2.23 ± 0.13 %, Acid Insoluble Ash value 0.76 ± 0.05). The phytochemical constituents present are alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids, carbohydrates, proteins, phenols, alkaloids and reducing sugars. The heavy metals and other mineral analysis showed that heavy metals such as; cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) were absent while lead was detected in a negligible concentration of 0.01±0.00 ppm. The essential and nonessential minerals contents of the sample detected (calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, copper, zinc and chromium) were within the WHO specified limits. The acute toxicity profile showed that at a dose of 5000 mg/kg body weight the crude extract of Eleusine coracana did not produce any toxic effect and no mortality was observed even after 14 days of observation. The rich properties and phytoconstituents of Eleusine coracana seeds could be responsible for its nutritional status. The seeds can further be explored for pharmaceutical leads through bioassay-guided isolation and characterization of the active principles and for use as nutraceutical supplements.
Keywords: Antioxidants, Phytoconstituents, Eleusine coracana, Ash values, free radicals