Fruits of Enhalus acoroides as a source of nutrition for coastal communities
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environment
Malnutrition in coastal areas is a widespread social and health problem in many areas of the world, with potential negative impacts on human growth, including brain development and intelligence. The root of the malnutrition problem is often the inadequate availability of foods which could provide sufficient and appropriate nutrition for a healthy body. Geographical conditions that can pose obstacles to the fulfillment of nutritional requirements in coastal areas can include sandy soils, low
... andy soils, low soil fertility, low freshwater availability, high evaporation, and high salinity or saline intrusion. These conditions limit the types of vegetation that can grow in coastal areas, including plants that can be consumed as vegetables. Therefore, coastal communities are looking to marine resources for vegetable alternatives, including the fruit of Enhalus acoroides. There are at least three reasons why this fruit could help fulfill human nutritional needs in tropical coastal communities: availability in nature, comparison of nutrition with other marine plants, and eligibility as a source of nutrition. The average Indonesian consumes vegetable 70.0 grams /person/ day, equivalent to 35% of the total vegetable intake recommended by WHO and balanced nutrition guidelines in Indonesia. Each E. acoroides fruit produces about 7,7 g of seeds per fruit so that 26 fruits would be needed to provide the daily WHO standard vegetable intake, which would require a total area of around 0,22 ha for E. acoroides fruit production. This vast extent can be reduced by consuming the E. acoroides seed pods (the thin fleshy skin of the fruit) as well as the seeds. Proximate analysis showed that, together, E. acoroides seeds and pods could help meet the human nutritional need for fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. They can also increase the body's resistance to degenerative diseases or infections. Crude fiber and carbohydrate content is higher than many other marine plants (e.g. Euchema cottonii, Caulerpa lentilifera, and Sargassum polycystum). The Calcium and iron content of E. acoroides seed pods were higher than those of E. cottonii, and phosphorus content was higher than in C. lentilifera.