Effect of Freezing on Some Plant Toxins and Micronutrients in the Leaves of Amaranthus Cruentus

Amaranthus cruentus is an important leafy vegetable, grown throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. It is an herbaceous annual leafy vegetable that can be produced for fresh market in 4 – 6 weeks after planting (Schippers, 2000). The vegetable can be produced all the year round depending on the availability of water. Amaranthus cruentus requires loamy to sandy loam soil for good yield and does well in soils with high organic matter content (Grubben, 1986). There are about 60 species of Amaranthus and several of them are cultivated as leafy vegetables, cereals or ornamental plants (Schippers, 2000; He, 2002; Dhellot et al., 2006). The leaves of amaranthus combined with condiments are used to prepare sauce in Africa (Oke, 1983; Mepha et al., 2007; Akubugwo et al., 2007).

Amaranthus cruentus has a high nutritional value because of the high contents of vitamins such as β-carotene (precursor of vitamin A), vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and folate, as well as dietary mineral elements including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese (Makus, 1984; Makus and Davis, 1984; Sussan and Anne, 1988; Stallknecht and Schaeffer, 1993). The vegetable is also rich in lysine, an essential amino acid that is deficient in diets based on cereals and tubers (Schipper, 2000). The vegetable also contain some plant toxins such cyanide, oxalates, nitrate, phytate and other secondary plant metabolites that have negative effect on animals and humans health at high concentrations (Macrae et al., 1997; Ogbadoyi et al., 2011; Musa et al., 2011). The concentrations of the nutrients and toxic substances in vegetables after harvesting are affected by the post-harvest treatment. It is on this basis that the research was conducted to determine the effect of freezing on the concentrations of some phytotoxins and micronutrients in Amaranthus cruentus.

 

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(Author: Amanabo Musa, Emmanuel O. Ogbadoyi

 Published by Macrothink Institute)