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Bio-Banking on Neglected and Underutilized Plant Genetic Resources of Nigeria: Potential for Nutrient and Food Security

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2015.64056    3,339 Downloads   3,898 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

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 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 anti-oxidant 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.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Nnamani, C. , Oselebe, H. and Igboabuchi, A. (2015) Bio-Banking on Neglected and Underutilized Plant Genetic Resources of Nigeria: Potential for Nutrient and Food Security. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 518-523. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.64056.

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