Nutrient and anti-nutrient contents of selected varieties of grain and leafy amaranths in Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Assessment of nutrient and anti-nutrient composition of amaranths grown in Tanzania was conducted to come up with their nutritional information. Six selected amaranth varieties namely Amaranthus dubius (Bwasi jekundu), Amaranthus cruentus (Bwasi kijani), Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Lishe njano), Amaranthus hybridus (Lishe nyeupe), Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Nafaka) and Amaranthus dubius (White local) were analyzed for trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper and manganese), proximate composition of crude fat, crude fibre, crude protein, ash, moisture and total carbohydrate and the anti-nutrients (nitrate and oxalate). Analyses were conducted with respect to fresh leaves, dried leaves, grains and amaranth flowers from each variety. Trace mineral‟s results showed that dried leaves of Bwasi jekundu had significantly high (p<0.05) iron contents (284.384mg/100g) compared to the other varieties of dried leaves, fresh leaves and amaranth flowers. Zinc, copper and manganese were significantly high (p<0.05) in Nafaka (75.89mg/100g), Lishe njano (3.2837mg/100g) and White local (34.869mg/100g) respective varieties of fresh leaves. Proximate levels of crude protein, crude fibre and crude fat were significantly high (p<0.05) in amaranth grains. Crude protein (15.787%) was high in Bwasi kijani grains, crude fibre (13.040% and 13.163%) was high in White local and Bwasi jekundu grains respectively that had no significantly difference (p>0.05) in crude fibre content. Crude fat (9.273%) was high in Bwasi jekundu grains. Total carbohydrate (78.743%) was significantly high in dried leaves of Bwasi kijani. Anti-nutrients (nitrate and oxalate) were significantly high in dried leaves. Oxalate content ranged from 360.3 to 378.5mg/100g in varieties of dried leaves that were not significantly different. The nitrate content was significantly high in Lishe nyeupe (137.06μg/g) of dried leaves. All dried leaves of amaranth were also significantly high in nitrate content. The common practice of discarding immature amaranth flowers did not appear to be supported since they were found to consist of significant amount of nutrients.



Nutrient, Anti-nutrient, Grain, Food minerals, Amaranth varieties