Nutrient composition and anti-nutritional factors in a local cultivar of Moringa oleifera (Lam) flowersAuthor(s): I.O.Igwilo, F.C.Ezeonu, S.C.Udedi, K.I.Ubaoji, N.A.Ozumba, H.A.Ogbunugafor
The methods of Association of Analytical Chemists were used for the proximate analysis of Moringa oleifera (Lam) flower and the amino acid content determined using Technicon Sequential Multi-Sample amino acid analyzer (TSM). The flowers contain 9.44 ± 3.08ï¥fat; 25.99 ± 0.07ï¥proteins; 50.57ï¥ carbohydrates; 3.57 ± 0.12ï¥ ash; 10.43 ± 0.58ï¥ moisture and 89.57 ± 0.58ï¥drymatter. The total energy value of the flower is 391.20 kcal/100g. The flowers contain ascorbic acid (459.21mg/100g) and pyridoxine (7.69mg/100g), but lack niacin, riboflavin and thiamine.Calcium(2.32mg/ 100g), Potassium(3.02mg/100g) and Sodium(129.03mg/100g)were found in the flowers. Tannins (60mg/100g) and oxalates (51.23mg/100g) were present at higher levels, while saponins (15.20mg/100g) phytates (0.436mg/ 100g) and cyanogenic glycosides (4.31mg/100g) occurred at much lower levels. The results of analysis of variance indicated that there was no significant difference between the essential and non-essential amino acids present in the flowers since the significance value of the result was well over 0.05. Experimental studieswith rats suggest that despite the appreciably high protein (25.99%) content of the flowers, it did not support growth. Rats fed compounded meal containing 38.5%ofMoringa flower ration for 21 days presented with drastic reduction in growth rate with mean body weight declining from55.20 ± 1.60g to 39.70 ± 1.15g. The implication is that either the anti-nutritional factors interfered with normalmetabolismor that the protein content of the flower is not digestible.