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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 13, No. 2, 2013, pp. 7428-7451
Bioline Code: nd13026
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2013, pp. 7428-7451

Acipa, A; Kamatenesi-Mugisha, M & Oryem-Origa, H


Wild food plants play an important role in the diet of inhabitants of Oyam District. Some of these plants are drought-resistant and gathered throughout the year. These wild foods are an important source of nutrients. However, there is a lack of comprehensive data regarding the nutrient contents of these indigenous plants. The purpose of this study was to document and assess the nutrient and mineral contents of the selected food plants. Ethnobotanical surveys were used to collect data through formal and informal interviews and focused group discussions. Voucher specimens were collected during field excursions and taken to Makerere Herbarium for proper identification. Nutrients and mineral analyses of wild and cultivated fruits, seeds, underground organs and vegetables from Ngai and Otwal sub counties were carried out using known procedures. They were analysed for mineral nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus concentrations. Additionally nutrients such proteins, beta carotene, vitamin C and dietary fibre were determined. On average, vegetables were found to be richer in organic nutrients and minerals followed by fruits and seeds in that order. Generally the wild food plant species were found to be richer sources of mineral nutrient than their cultivated relatives. For example, the highest concentration of calcium 867.59 mg/100g was found in Acalypha bipartita check for this species in other resources leaves compared to 294.18 mg/100g in Cleome gynandra check for this species in other resources . Plant species that showed high iron contents [>30%] were leaves of swamp hibiscus, African spider flowers, fruist of Tamarind, Black night shade and Jews mallow. It was also noted that among the food plant species analysed, fruits were low in nutrients and mineral elements. Some of these food plants were also considered to have medicinal properties by the locals such as African spider flower, Rattle pod among others. However, it should be noted that there is a general decline in the consumption of wild plants, despite the apparent high nutritional values. The conservation of wild food plants is not taking place among the communities in the study area, thus the poor rural communities who are limited on balancing their diet could be faced with diseases associated with nutrient deficiencies.

Wild food plants; Nutrient; Mineral

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