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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2006  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 522 - 529

Nutritional Value of Balsam Apple (Momordica balsamina L.) Leaves

L.G. Hassan and K.J. Umar    

Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess the nutritive value of Momordica balsamina L. leaves by analysing their proximate composition, amino acid profile and mineral constituents. The results showed that the plant leaves had high moisture content (71.00±0.95% fresh weights). The concentration of estimated crude protein and available carbohydrates on dry weight (DW) basis were 11.29 0.07% and 39.05±2.01% respectively. The leaves also have high ash (18.00±0.56% DW) and crude fibre (29.00±1.23% DW) contents; while crude lipid (2.66±0.13% DW) and energy value (191.16kcal/100g DW) were low. The study detected seventeen amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, valine, alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline and serine) with glutamic acid, leucine and aspartic acid being the predominance amino acids. Isoleucine, leucine, valine and aromatic acids were found to be higher than WHO/FAO/UNU (1985) requirement pattern for children, while sulphur containing amino acids are the only limiting amino acids for adults. The results of leaves mineral composition per 100g (DW) were as follows: K (1,320.00mg), Na (122.49mg), Ca (941.00mg), Mg (220.00mg), P (130.46mg), Fe (60.30mg), Cu (5.44mg), Mn (11.60mg) and Zn (3.18mg). Comparing the leaves mineral contents with RDA values, the results indicated that the Momordica balsamina leaves could be good supplement for some mineral elements particularly K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Cu and Mn.

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