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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 7  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 85 - 89

The Nutritive, Anti-Nutritive and Hepatotoxic Properties of Trichosanthes anguina (Snake Tomato) Fruits from Nigeria

O.A. Ojiako and C.U. Igwe    

Abstract: Ripe fruits of Trichosanthes anguina (snake tomato) were subjected to phytochemical and proximate analyses. Hepatotoxic effects of various feeds compounded with fruits and seeds of the plant were also investigated. Twenty-five male rabbits randomly distributed into 5 groups (A-E) of 5 animals each, were respectively fed grower`s mash as the control diet, and raw fruits, cooked fruits, cooked fruits without seeds and cooked seeds respectively for 4 weeks. The levels of serum total (TB) and conjugated (CB) bilirubin, as well as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were spectrophotometrically determined weekly. The presence of saponins, flavonoids, cyanogenic and cardiac glycosides as well as tannins was observed. The proximate and vitamin analyses yielded moisture (93.15±0.05%), carbohydrates (3.48±0.04%), proteins (1.85±0.04%), vitamins C (18.9±0.05 mg 100 mL-1) and A (347.0±0.02 ug 100 mL-1). At the end of the feeding period, groups B and E animals significantly lost 102.5±10.61 g and 47.5±17.59 g of their body weight (p<0.05), while groups C and D animals, non significantly gained 20.0±8.28 g and 25.0±6.12 g (p>0.05) respectively, in relation to the control group. The levels of serum TB, CB, AST, ALT and ALP were all significantly raised in groups B and E animals (p<0.01). However, in groups C and D, only ALP activity was significantly raised (p<0.05), with TB, AST and ALT levels remaining almost normal. The results indicate that T. anguina fruit contains important nutrients and will not be hepatotoxic unless consumed raw or unprocessed. The findings are of nutritional and industrial relevance since the fruit is currently being used in place of tomatoes in many homes in Nigeria.

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