Characterization of the Chemical and Phytochemical Profiles during Fruit Development and Ripening in Selected Cultivars of African Nightshade (Solanum Nigrum Complex) Edible Berries

Elijah Heka Kamau, Julius Maina Mathara, Glaston Mwangi Kenji


Solanum nigrum complex is a green, indigenous leafy vegetable that grows in many parts of the world and its utilization can deliver more nutrients and phytochemicals into the diet. Even though it can help in alleviating the burden of hidden hunger, only the leafy part is utilized whereas the plant has edible berries. This study sought to address the problem of underutilization by looking at the benefits that can be derived from the berries. Four varieties of the plant were harvested through four stages; green, colour break, ripe and at senescence. Chemical analyses of the berries were done to determine the content and changes in macro and micro-nutrients and the phytochemical content of the berries as they ripened. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significant difference between nutrient and phytochemical composition of the different S. nigrum varieties at different ripening stages. The results show that fibre, ash and protein increased at senescence while carbohydrates decreased. Magnesium was the most abundant mineral. As berries ripened, oxalates, total phenols, flavonoids and phytates decreased while Vitamin C, tannins and total carotenoids increased. Conclusively, the berries in this study have comparable nutritional value with other commonly consumed fruits and could, therefore, be incorporated into the family pot.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Elijah Heka Kamau, Julius Maina Mathara, Glaston Mwangi Kenji

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379


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