This study deals with the analyses of the quantity of moisture, crude proteins, total lipids, carbohydrates, ash, crude fibre and calcium. These analyses were carried out in five different species of egusi seeds, which belong to the Cucurbitaceae
family. These seeds are: Cucumeropsis mannii
(egusi melon), Cucurbita maxima
(pumpkin or squash gourd), Cucurbita moschata
(musk melon), Lagenaria siceraria
(bottle gourd or calabash) and Cucumis sativus
The moisture content was determined by drying in an oven to constant weight, crude protein content by Kjedahl method. Total lipids by Soxhlet, ash content by incinerating in a furnace and carbohydrates by the Bertrand's method. The crude fibre content was the residue obtained after sequential hot digestion of the defatted sample with dilute acid and alkaline solutions. The calcium content was determined by the complexiometric method.
From this study, it was noticed that the moisture levels (4.33 - 7.25% f.w) were similar to those of other oilseeds such as soybean and the fluted pumpkin seed. These egusi samples contained good levels of crude proteins (24.3 - 41.6% d.w), total lipids (42.9 - 57.3% d.w) and calcium (129.7 - 269.7 mg/100 g d.w). Their levels of crude proteins were similar to those of soybean and the fluted pumpkin but higher than that of groundnut (23% d.w), while the total lipid contents were similar to those of groundnut and the fluted pumpkin seed but higher than that of soybean (19.1% d.w). The carbohydrate contents of these seeds (4.56 - 10.2% d.w) are lower than those of groundnut (18.6% d.w) and the fluted pumpkin seed (14.5% d.w). The crude fibre levels (0.9 - 1.63% d.w) were lower than those of soybean (5.71% d.w) and groundnuts (5.15% d.w). The ash contents of these seeds (2.82 - 5.0% d.w) were similar to those of groundnuts (2.79% d.w), soybean (5.06% d.w) and the fluted pumpkin seed (3.4% d.w). Calcium levels compared well with that of soybean, higher than that of groundnut (49 mg/100 g d.w) and even higher than that of the fluted pumpkin seed (1.1 mg/100 g d.w).
These egusi seeds can therefore be considered as an important source of plant proteins, lipids and calcium, which could be used in the fight against malnutrition.