CHEMICAL AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES OF BLACK PEAR AND PEPPER FRUIT Sci…

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Piper nigrum (pepper fruit) is an indigenous fruit tree of the family Annonaceae (Etukudo, 2000). It’s widely distributed and consumed by the inhabitants of Western Cameroons, Ivory Coast and Southern Nigeria (Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1954; Keay et al., 1960; Okiy, 1960). It is a medium- sized or small tree which spreads throughout the rain forest and sometimes found in forest within the Savanna areas (Keay et al., 1964). Piper nigrumfruits appear red when ripe and green when unripe. The matured fruits constitute the main edible portion. The leaves, fruit, bark and root of the plants possess strong pepperish and pungent spicy taste with a characteristic aroma and fragrance. The young leaves and fruits have instinctive spicy taste (Achinewhu et al., 1995). The fruits are chewed in different forms (fresh green, fresh ripened red, black dry fruit and dry seed). Piper nigrum fruit serve as mild stimulant to the consumer (Aiyeloja and Bello, 2006; Ndukwu and Nwadibia, 2006; Oyemitan et al., 2006). The fruits and leaves are used as seasonings which are added to prepared food such as meat, soup, sausage and in some special local dishes and vegetables (Ejechi and Akpomedaye, 2005). Dennettia plant yields a good fuel wood (Abbiw, 1990 and Duguma et al., 1990). Its various parts are commonly used as spices and condiment (Oyemitan, 2008). The fruit is sold for money especially by rural women. Piper nigrum fruits have been reported to contain important nutritive substances such as vitamins, minerals and fiber (Okwu et al., 2005). It was also indicated that the rich presence of essential oil (oleoresins) determines the aromatic flavoring, coloring and pungent properties of pepper fruits. Nwaogu et al. (2007) investigated phytochemical content of Piper nigrum and detected the presence of saponins, flavonoids, tannins and cyanogenic glycosides. Also Adebayo et al., (2006) reported the presence of flavonoids in Dennettia tripetala. The intake of flavonoids in any fruit and vegetable tends to decrease cancer risk (Neuhouser, 2004; Graf et al., 2005). Flavonoid according to Harpens et al., (1979) contributes to the colour of plants, their fruits and flowers. Timothy and Okeke (2005) reported that ingestion of 0.75g of Piper nigrumreduces the intraocular pressure (IOP) of normotensive emmetrops though not sustained at 30 minutes post consumption. The IOP was reduced by 17.30% (12.90 mmHg) from the mean baseline of 15.60mmHg. On the other hand, Dacryodes edulis (also called African plum, African pear, black pear or Safou) is an indigenous fruit tree in the humid low lands and plateau regions of West, Central African and Gulf of Guinea countries. In south-east Nigeria, the trees are grown around homesteads and flowering takes place from January to April. The major fruiting season is between May and October (Emebiri and Nwufo, 1990; Kengue and Nyagatchou, 1990). Fruits are ellipsoidal and their size varies approximately from 4 – 9 cm long and from 2 – 5 cm wide (Omoti and Okiy, 1987). They could be an important source of pulp oil, seed oil and even whole fruit oil (Awono et al., 2002). The Safou oil should take their place in the food industry, the pharmaceutical and the cosmetics industry (soap, perfume, creams) as well as in other branches of industry where fat raw materials are needed. The cake remaining after the production of pulp oil may be useful in human food industry (bakery, baby foods). Information on the consumption and composition of Safou is far from complete. As the fruit becomes more popular and is increasingly commercialized, such information is indispensable for proper valorisation of the fruit. Monkey Kola which is known as the genus Cola of the family Sterculiaceae is to tropical Africa and has its centre of greatest diversity in West Africa. About 40 Cola species have been described in West Africa. In Nigeria about twenty three (23) species are known and some are used in traditional medicine as stimulant, to prevent dysentery, headache and to suppress sleep. Cola rostrata and C. lepidota (CL) K. Schum are perennial trees popularly known as monkey cola and cockroach kola. Monkey kola is a common name given to a number of minor relatives of the Cola spp. that produce edible tasty fruits. Native people of southern Nigeria and the Cameron relish the fruits, as well as some wild primate animals especially monkeys, baboons and other species. Seeds of the monkey kola species are obliquely ovoid with two flattered surfaces, rough and reddish brown or green; but not edible unlike the seeds of kola nut (C. nitida). The aril (waxy mesocarp) form the edible portion of the follicle, and varied in colour, with the C. rostrata having whitish aril, while C. lepidota is characterized by yellowish aril. Cola lepidota is reported to be employed in Nigerian folk medicine as febrifuges, for pulmonary problems and cancer related ailments


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