Antinutritional Composition Of Securidaca Longepedunculata (Violet Tree)

Project and Seminar Material for Biology

Antinutritional Composition Of Securidaca Longepedunculata (Violet Tree)


The antinutritional composition of leafs and stem bark s. longepedunculata were investigated using standard analytical methods.The leafs and stem bark of S. longepedunculata was air dried and the sample was pulverized for the determination of anti-nutritive contents. The antinutritional continents viz phytate, oxalate, nitrate and cyanide were determined in this investigation. Nitrate content was significantly (p<0.001) found to be abundant in both the leafs and stem bark followed by cyanide (p<0.01). Phytate and oxalate were found to be non-significant (p>0.05) in both the leafs and stem bark. In conclusion, the result of the present study shows that both the leafs and stem bark can be consumed without any restriction. However, consumption in large amount with higher level of these anti-nutrients should be avoided.

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction:

Plants commonly synthesized a range of secondary metabolites as part of their protection against attack by herbivores, insects and pathogen or as a means to survive in adverse growing conditions. If farm or domestic animals or humans consume these plants, these compounds may cause adverse physiological effects. The terms anti nutritional or natural toxicant have been widely employed or describe plant defense metabolites in the food and nutrition literature. The observed biological effects very greatly, depending upon the structures of the individual compound, which can range from high molecular weight proteins to simple amino acids and oligosaccharides (Khokhar and Apenten, 2006).

Antinutritional factors are those substances found in most food substance which are poisonous to humans or in some ways limit the nutrient availability to the body. Plant evolved these substances to protect them and prevent them from being eaten. However, if the diet is not varied, some of this toxin builds up in the body to harmful levels (Norman and Petter 1987).

Anti-nutritional factors are present in different food substances in varying amounts, defending on kind of food, mode of its propagation, chemicals used in growing crop as well as these chemicals used in storage and preservation of the food substances. These anti-nutritional factors must be inactivated or removed if values of food substances are to be fully maintained (Inuwa, 20011).

The plant Securidaca longepeduculata is native to Africa and commonly known as Rhodesia violet, violet tree and also as ezeogwu, ipeta and uwar magunguna (mother of drugs) in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa language in Nigeria (Agbaje and Adekoya, 2012). The plant is a semi-deciduous shrub that grows up to 12m“` tall. It is sping and much branched with an open rather straggle looking crown (owoyele et al, 2006).

The genetic name comes from a Latin word secures meaning hatched. Repairing to the shape of the met with its curved membranous wing; and long pedunculata which refers to the long peduncle. The plant is very attractive to birds, butterflies and insects especially when in flowers. The leaves are available crowded on dwarf spur branch lets which are sometimes spine tipped. They have very fine hairs when young but they lae them as they mature. Flowers are sweetly, scented, in short bunches pink to purple and are produced in early summer. They are a lot 10mm long and are each borne on a long slender stalks (Peduncle) terminals and auxiliary sprays are a lot 30-50mm long appearing with long leaves

Securidaca longepedunculata is a threatened and protected species. The violet tree is used for medicinal purposes and other uses in rural areas. What make it so threatened is the fact that root are target for people using the plant, which makes it difficult for the plant to survive constant harvesting. It occurs in the Northwest and limpopes provinces of the South African and Mozambique and it is widely distributed in tropic Africa. The violet tree is found woodland and arid savannah soil. (Olaleye et al, 1998). The violet tree is the most popular of all the traditional medicinal plants in South Africa and is used for almost every conceivable ailment. Some vernacular names means “king of medicines” The roots are very poisonous, smell like wintergreen oil and are said to contain methylsalicylate. In some parts of West Africa they are used as arrow poison. The root and bark are taken orally either powdered or as infusion for treating chest complaints, inflammation, abortion, ritual suicide, tuberculosis, infertility, veneral disease and for constipation. Toothache can also be relieved by chewing the roots. Powdered roots are used to treat headache by rubbing them on the forehead. Infusions of the root are used for washing topical ulcers. In Limpopo, the venda take root for mental disorders and against children’s illness during breast feeding. The vender people mix the powdered root with maize and sorghum beverages for men being sexually week. In Zimbabwe, the roots are given to people who are believed to be possessed by evil spirits. Pounded with water and salt they are used against snake bites and cough (Owoyele et al, 2006).The plant is widely used in Nigeria for treatment of many ailments. This includes the use of its root as a purgative, diuretic, diaphoretic, emetic and expectorant. The leaves extract are used in the treatment venereal disease, snake bite as an abortifacient, Haemostatic a gat and expectorant, the back is used for treating stomach problems as an anti-flammatory agent. The decoction of the seeds is giving for fever and Rheumatism (soladoye, 2006).

1.2 Justification of the Study

Securidaca longepedunculata is widely used in Nigeria for treatment of many ailments. However, despite the frequent use of this plant for the treatment of various ailments there is currently no study have been reported so far on the antinutritional composition of this medicinal plant.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

The aim of this study was to determine the anti nutritional composition of Securidaca longepedunculata and the specific objective of the study were to;

  1. Determine the content of oxalate in the plant extract.
  2. Evaluate the composition of cyanide in the sample.
  3. Composition of nitrate in the sample.
  4. Evaluate the content of phytic.

Chapter Five

5.1 Discussion

To avoid predation, plants synthesized a range of low and high molecular weight compounds. These secondary metabolites play a role in defense against herbivores, insects, pathogens, or adverse growing conditions. Many of these compounds may be labeled as antinutrients in the human diet due to their occurrence in fresh foods and processed foodstuffs (Khokhur and Apenten, 2006). Such antinutrients found in human diet include oxalate, phytate, nitrate as well as cyanide.

According to Ladeji (2005) oxalate can bind to calcium present in food therapy rendering calcium unavailability for normal physiological and biochemical role such as the maintenance of strong bones, teeth, cofactor in enzymatic reaction, nerve impulse, transmission and as clotting factor in the blood. The calcium oxalate which is insoluble may also precipitate around soft tissues such as the kidney, causing kidney stones (Oke 1969). Though, lost of calcium leads to degeneration of bones, teeth and impairment of blood clotting process (Badifu and Okeke, 1992). The present finding therefore indicate that oxalate is safe for human consumption due to limited amount detected.

According to Oke (1968) a phytate diet of 1.6% over long period decrease the bioavailability of mineral elements in mono gastric animals. Phytic acid can bind to mineral elements such as calcium, zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium to form complexes that are indigestible, thereby decreasing the bioavailability of these elements for absorption (Erdman 1979). Phytate is also associated with nutritional diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia in children and adult respectively (Makkar and becker 1998). Nevertheless, phytate was known to be anticarcinogen that protects against colon cancer and it is known to be a potent antioxidant that inhibits Fenton reactions eading to lipid peroxidation and inhibition of polyphenol oxidase (Umar, 2005).

Studies have indicated that nitrates generally cause methaemoglobinaemia in young infants but not in adult (fytianos and zarogiannis, 1999). Too much of nitrate in the body prevents the cells from being able to use oxygen which they used in order to survive, that is, it interferes in cellular respiration. However, when reduced to nitric oxide it plays an important role in the body as it provide host defense against numerous micro organisms (Benjamin, 2000).

Consumption of high levels of cyanide is associated with a serious health problem, spastic paraparetis known as Konzo , in Nigeria a neurological disease known as tropical ataxis neuropathy (TAN) was also linked to consumption of high level of cyanide in cassava based diet (Hassan and Umar , 2004 ). Only plants with more than 200mg of cyanide equivalent per 100mg fresh weight are considered dangerous. (Betancur –Ancona et al., 2008). However, the presence of cyanide found in the plant extract shows that both the leaves and stem bark are not safe for consumption as far as cyanide is concerned.


In conclusion, the antinutritional analysis of the leafs and stem bark of Securidata longepedunculata commonly consumed for various ailments showed that both the leafs and stem bark contained traceable amount of nitrate and cyanide having lower quantity of oxalate and phytate. Hence they can be consumed without any restriction. However, consumption in large amounts with higher level of these antinutrients should be avoided.

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