Proximate, Mineral and Amino Acid Analysis of the Leaves of Abrus precatorius L. (Hitch)
The plant Abrus precatorius is a wild edible flowering legume of the Fabaceae family. The leaves are used traditionally to treat ailments such as fever, skin cancer, typhoid, cough and hepatitis in Nigeria and some other countries. They are also utilized as vegetable and sweetener. A. precatorius leaves were analyzed for the proximate, mineral, amino acid and anti-nutritional composition using standard procedures. The proximate analysis revealed high amount of fibre (14.62%), crude protein (12.85%), moisture (6.55%) ash (6.34%), fat (4.95%) and carbohydrate (54.69%). A. precatorius leaves contain all the essential amino acids and compares favourably with standard requirement level of the FAO/WHO (1991). However, the values for leucine and lysine were below the WHO standard. The plant sample contains significant amount of magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, calcium and copper. The anti-nutrients composition of the leaves of A. precatorius was also determined. The leaves contain oxalate (7.92 mg/100g), phytate (16.20 mg/100g), trypsin inhibitors (6.15 mg/100g) but cyanide were not detected. Although, the amounts of mineral elements, essential amino acids and protein in this food/medicinal plant can boost immensely the diets of natives in Nigeria. Information from this research can provide valuable data to public health officials in the region with knowledge that will be beneficial in advising locals on the nutritional importance of A. precatorius leaves
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