Bio-Banking on Neglected and Underutilized Plant Genetic Resources of Nigeria: Potential for Nutrient and Food Security
American Journal of Plant Sciences
The poor quality of habitual diet and lack of dietary diversity in Sub-Sahara Africa are grossly contributing to deficiencies of micronutrients in the menu of poor rural and semi urban communities particularly in Nigeria, leading to the high incidence of hidden hunger. This has manifested in the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as stunted growth, goiter, blindness, kwashiorkor and marasmus. Five underutilized traditional leafy vegetables (TLVs) of southeast Nigeria were
... igeria were assessed by standard methods to determine their physiochemical and antioxidant values. These TLVs were Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Monench (Okra), Ageratum conyzoides Linn (Goat weed), Acanthus montanus (Ness) T. Anders. (Leopard's tongue), Bombax buonopozense P. Beauv. (Kapok Tree) and Mucuna flagellipes (Devil bean). Results showed that the leaves of Bombax buonopozense and Abelmoschus esculentus contained appreciable amounts of protein, fat, fibre, carbohydrate and mineral elements, and generally low level of toxicants. Furthermore, the antioxidant contents of the five TLVs highlighted their biological values as medicinal plants with the high potency in fighting diseases. The above results showed that these vegetables could be valuable and important contributors to the diets of the rural poor and semi-urban people of southeast Nigeria for improved human nutrition, reduction of hidden hunger and food security.