*Otitoju Grace T.O., Otitoju Olawale, Kalu-Uka Amarachi.G., Abdussalaam Rukayat O, Ali 4Jemimah E. and Emmanuel-Omale BidemiB.
1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria
2 Department of Biochemistry, Federal University Wukari, Nigeria.
3Department of Home science and Management, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria
4Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Federal University Wukari, Nigeria
* Corresponding Author: [email protected]
Background:Leafy vegetables are sources of macro and micronutrients that play major role in maintaining healthy living. Phytochemicals are non-nutrient but bioactive compound with health protecting properties which play a variety of roles such as antioxidants, inhibition of tumor growth, antimutagens, enzyme modulators and free radical scavengers. In this study, the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the phytochemical contents of “Ahihara” (Corchorus, olitorius), “eriamionu” (Celosia argentea), Tree spinach (Cnidoscolusa conitifolius) and “ugu”(Telfairia occidentalis) consumed in the eastern part of Nigeria was carried out.
Methods: Qualitative and quantitative screenings were carried out on the raw, cooked and shade dried leaves to determine the presence of alkaloids, anthocyanin, carotenoid, flavonoid, glycoside, saponin, oxalate and tannins using standard methods. Fisher’s Least Significant Difference was used to compare the different means at p < 0.05.
Results: The results showed that the plant materials used for this study contain most of the phytochemicals tested for. Alkaloid was found to be present in high amounts in the shade dried vegetable except “ugu” (1.91, 1.32, 1.25 and 0.95g/100g for “Ahihara”, tree spinach, “eriamionu” and “ugu” respectively) while glycoside was absent in “ugu” and tree spinach but present in “Ahihara” and “eriamionu”. “Ahihara” was found to also contain the highest amount of anthocyanin (0.11g/100g). Processing affected the availability of the phytochemicals differently. Shade drying significantly (p<0.05) increased the concentration of all the phytochemicals. Cooking decreased the content of the alkanoid, anthocyanins, flavonoid, glycoside, oxalate and saponin but did not affect the level of carotenoid and tannin. Conclusion: The phytochemicals were present in all the vegetables studied. Of all the treatments, shade drying was observed to be a good processing method as it increased the phytochemical contents of the vegetables.