Phytochemical, Proximate and Nutrient Composition of Vernonia calvaona Hook (Asterecea): A Green-Leafy Vegetable in Nigeria

Igile G. O., Iwara I. A., Mgbeje B. I. A., Uboh F. E., Ebong P. E.


The leaf of Vernonia calvaona was analysed for its phytochemical, proximate, anti-nutrient, mineral elements and vitamin compositions using standard analytical procedures. Flavonoids (7.07 ± 0.43%) were the most dominant plant secondary compound, followed by steroidal saponins (4.42 ± 0.23%), phenolic compounds (3.19 ± 0.05%), and carotenoids (1.62 ± 0.11%). Alkaloids (1.26 ± 0.13%), and sesquiterpene lactones (1.64 ± 0.13%) were also present in the plant. The proximate analysis of the fresh leaf gave a carbohydrate content of 20.80± 0.67 mg/100 g, with a corresponding reducing sugar content of 8.56 ± 0.06 mg/100 g. The sample also gave a protein content of 19.80 ± 0.61 mg/100 g and fat content of 4.17 ±0.15 mg/100 g respectively. The total fatty acid content of the plant was 3.57 ± 0.52 mg/100 g. Overall the green-leafy vegetable of Vernonia calvaona which is usually eaten raw and fresh contains a very balanced nutrient composition and provides a total metabolising energy value of 844.49 ± 6.19 KJ/100 g. The plant has a crude fibre content of 7.63 ± 0.22 mg/100 g and an ash content of 10.67 ± 0.33 mg/100 g respectively. The anti-nutrient levels, including oxalates (0.34 ± 0.04 mg/100 g), phytates (0.94 ± 0.04 mg/100 g) and cyanates (0.09 ± 0.01 mg/100 g) were low compared to many known vegetables. The leaf is rich in vitamins (Vit C 11.33 ± 0.88, Vit A 0.61 ± 0.01 and Vit E 0.99 ± 0.13 mg/100 g). The leaf is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin and folic acid. The mineral profile of the leaf sample is also impressive, and includes some key elements such as, Fe, Zn, Ca, Na, K, Mg, P and Se. It may be concluded that the leaves of V. calvaona contribute to nutrient intake by the consuming populations in Nigeria and can serve as an antimalarial, antidiabetic, fertility agent, anti-cancer, anti-ulcer and cardioprotective agent.


Vernonia calvaona, vitamins, mineral elements, secondary compounds

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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887(Print)   ISSN 1927-0895(Online)

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