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Comparison of the nutrient composition and physical characteristics of nigerian local vegetable cowpea varieties (vigna unguiculata. walp) and exotic ones

Author: 
Ojimelukwe, P. C., Nwofia, G. E. and Nnadi, O.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Vegetable cowpeas are integral components of the Nigerian traditional diet. They are relished for their delicious flavor and complement carbohydrate staples, supplying proteins, vitamins and minerals. The aim of this research work was to provide scientific information the nutrient composition (pods containing seeds and seeds alone) and physical characteristics of two local vegetable cowpea varieties Akidi-ani (AKA) and Akidi-enu (AKE) consumed in Nigeria, in comparison with nine exotic varieties. Physical methods were used to measure the pod dimensions. Nutrient composition of whole pods and seeds were determined using standard AOAC methods (AOAC, 1990).The proximate composition, mineral and phytochemical contents were determined. The pod length of AKE ranked 3rd when compared with other vegetable cowpea varieties, while its pod width ranked 2nd. The two local cowpea varieties contained significant amounts of crude protein (28% and 32.5% for AKE and AKA respectively), crude fiber 3.4% and 4.4% for AKA and AKE respectively), and ash. AKA also contained relatively high amounts of iron (1.8mg/g) and phosphorus (1.1mg/g) and was found to be richer in alkaloids (1.6mg/g) and tannins (1.5mg/g) than other vegetable cowpeas. The findings provide scientific data required for genetic modification of local cowpeas. It also highlights the need to diversify their utilization.

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