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Phytochemical and nutritional properties of dried leaf powder of Moringa oleifera Lam. from machala el oro province of ecuador

Moringa oleífera commonly called Moringa, is a valuable tree whose fruits, roots and leaves have been advocated for traditional, medicinal and industrial uses. The phytochemical and nutritional properties of the dried leaf powder of M. oleifera used as nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, functional foods or a source of vegetable in meal preparation were investigated in this study to scientifically provide an empirical evidence for its use and benefits. Using standard phytochemical screening procedures the phytochemicals identified were tannins, saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides and reducing sugars. The physico-chemical analysis using standard official methods and gas chromatography revealed the following nutrients; proteins (24.31%), carbohydrate (55.97%), ashes (11.50%), crude fiber (10.28%), total fat (9.22%), moisture (6.12 %), caloric value (404.10 Kcal/100g) and saturated fatty acids (3.77 %), unsaturated fatty acids (5.45 %), monounsaturated fatty acids (0.87 %), polyunsaturated fatty acids (4.58 %) and Trans fatty acid (0.00 %) for fatty acid profile. Using acid hydrolysis and ion-exchange chromatography, the amino acid analysis report showed the presence of essential and semi essential amino acids in varying amounts with a total of 27.16 nmol at 570nm and proline was 1.432 nmol at 440nm. These findings have far reaching nutritional importance in the healthcare system of this country and will help to address undernutrition in acost effective manner. Thus, the use of M. oleifera leaves as nutrients should be encouraged and sustained in this and other countries.

Author(s): Chinwe Christy Isitua*, Maria Jose Sanchez-Muros Lozano, Carmita Jaramillo Jaramillo1 and Fausto Dutan

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