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The chemical composition of an underutilized spice (Cussonia bateri) in south east, Nigeria was evaluated. The seeds of the spice were procured from orie ugba market, Umuahia, after which it was sorted, washed with water, oven dried using a hot air oven at 550C for 6 hours and milled into powder. The proximate content, mineral content, vitamin content and phytochemical properties of the spice were evaluated using standard analytical methods. The data generated were statistically analyzed using one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and reported as mean of triplicate analyses.                     

The study showed that the spice had 6.7% moisture content, 9.18% crude protein, 25.71% fat, 3.42% crude fibre, 3.72%  ash, 51.23% carbohydrate and 473.15 Kcal/100g of energy. The result of the mineral content revealed that the spice contained 37.34mg/100g of calcium, 22.89mg/100g of magnesium, 47.72mg/100g of phosphorus, 69.67mg/100g of potassium, 34.70mg/100g of sodium, 1.13mg/100g of iron and 0.84mg/100g of zinc. The result of the vitamin content showed that the spice had 1.69µg/100g of pro vitamin A, 2.69mg/100g of vitamin B1, 0.90mg/100g of vitamin B2, 0.70mg/100g of vitamin B3, 0.64mg/100g of vitamin B6, and 4.93mg/100g of vitamin C. the result of the phytochemical properties revealed that the spice contained 6.45mg/100g of tannin, 3.07mg/100g of flavonoid, 2.29mg/100g polyphenol and 0.82mg/100g of phytate.                           

Regarding the obtained results, this spice can be considered as potential source of crude fibre, fat, carbohydrate, calorie and also micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc needed for development of human body, bone health and body metabolism. The phytochemical compounds such as flavonoids, phytate, polyphenol and tannins in the spice are unneglectable. It was observed that the proximate composition, mineral, vitamin and phytochemical properties of jansa seeds spice compared with other indigenous and well known spices. The results obtained from this study indicated that the spice is a good raw material for the production of some medicinal drugs and can be used in folk medicine for the treatment and prevention of some diseases.


TITLE PAGE                                                                                                                                i

CERTIFICATION                                                                                                 ii

DEDICATION                                                                                                                   iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT                                                                                                                       iv

TABLE OF CONTENT                                                                                                                     v

LISTS OF TABLES                                                                                                                               ix

ABSTRACT                                                                                                                              x



1.1 Background of the study                                                                                                   1

1.2 Statement of the problems                                                                                                3

1.3 Objectives of the study                                                                                                     4

1.3.1 General objective of the study                                                                                       4

1.3.2 Specific objectives of the study                                                                                     4

1.4 Significance of the study                                                                                                  4



2.1 Overview of spices                                                                                                           6

2.1.1 Types of spices                                                                                                              6

2.1.2 Uses of spices                                                                                                                7

2.1.3 Health benefits of spices                                                                                                8

2.1.4 Preservative effects of spices                                                                                        9

2.1.5 Indigenous spices in Nigeria                                                                                         11

2.2 Overview of Cussonia bateri                                                                                            14





3.1 Study design                                                                                                                     15

3.2 Source of raw material                                                                                                     15

3.3 Sample preparation                                                                                                           16

3.3.1 Processing of Cussonia bateri                                                                                       16

3.4 Method of analysis                                                                                                           18

3.5 PROXIMATE ANALYSIS                                                                                            18

3.5.1 Determination of moisture content                                                                                18

3.5.2 Determination of Ash content                                                                                       18

3.5.3 Determination of fat content                                                                                         18

3.5.4 Determination of crude fibre                                                                                         19

3.5.5 Determination of crude protein                                                                                     19

3.5.6 Determination of Carbohydrate content                                                                                    20


3.6.1 Determination of calcium and magnesium                                                                   19

3.6.2 Determination of phosphorus                                                                                        20

3.6.3 Determination of potassium                                                                                          20

3.6.4 Determination of zinc                                                                                                    21

3.6.5 Determination of iron                                                                                                    21

3.6.6 Determination of sodium                                                                                               22


3.7.1 Determination of beta-carotene                                                                                     22

3.7.2 Determination of Vitamin B1(Thiamin)                                                                       23

3.7.3 Determination of Vitamin B2(Riboflavin)                                                                    23

3.7.4 Determination of Vitamin B3(Niacin)                                                                          24

3.7.5 Determination of Vitamin C                                                                                          25


3.8.1 Determination of total polyphenols                                                                               25

3.8.2 Determination of total flavonoids                                                                                 26

3.8.3 Determination of phytate                                                                                               26

3.8.4 Determination of tannins                                                                                               27

3.9 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS                                                                                          27



4.1 Proximate composition of Jansa seeds spice                                                                    28

4.1.1 Moisture content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                           28

4.1.2 Crude protein content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                   28

4.1.3 Fat content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                    30

4.1.4 Crude fibre content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                       31

4.1.5 Ash content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                   31

4.1.6 Carbohydrate content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                   32

4.1.7 Energy value of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                 32


4.2.1 Calcium content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                            33

4.2.2 Magnesium content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                      36

4.2.3 Phosphorus content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                       36

4.2.4 Potassium content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                         37

4.2.5 Iron content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                   38

4.2.6 Zinc content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                  39

4.2.7 Sodium content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                             39


4.3.1 Pro-vitamin A content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                  40

4.3.2 Vitamin B1 content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                      40

4.3.3 Vitamin B2 content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                      43

4.3.4 Vitamin B3 content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                      44

4.3.5 Vitamin B6 content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                      44

4.3.6 Vitamin C content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                        45


4.4.1 Tannin content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                              45

4.4.2 Flavonoid content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                         46

4.4.3 Polyphenol content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                       46

4.4.4 Phytate content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                             48



5.1 Conclusion                                                                                                                        51

5.2 Recommendations                                                                                                            51

REFERENCES                                                                                                                     53                                                                                                                               







4.1 Proximate composition of Jansa seeds spice                                                                    29

4.2 Mineral content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                                35

4.3 Vitamin content of Jansa seeds spice                                                                               42

4.4 Phytochemical properties of Jansa seeds spice                                                                47












Spices have been an integral part of culinary culture around the world and have a long history of use for flavouring, colouring, aroma, enhancing agents and for preservation of foods (El-Sayed and Youssef, 2019). Spices come from different seeds, root, bark, fruit berries, aril, pods and flowers of plants (Herman, 2015). Spices have been used to fortify foods throughout history. Although spices are low-cost commodities, they have been valued for many centuries (El-Sayed and Youssef, 2019). Spices contain phytochemicals that show strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities both in vitro and in vivo and in clinical studies (Embuscado, 2019). Today, there is a large volume of evidence that spices can help alleviate conditions linked with specific diseases as well as prevent or reduce risks associated with degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer (Embuscado, 2019).


Spices are popular among Nigerians, although most of the Nigerian spices are grown in the wild (Olife et al., 2013). Spices are generally found in four agro ecological zones of the country namely: Forest (including mangrove and rainforest), dried Savanna, Guinea Savanna and Sujdan Savanna. The bulk of the spices identified in Nigeria are found in the Southern rainforest zone of the country, while others such as garlic and ginger are found predominantly in the dry Northern zone (Olife and Onwualu, 2013). Indigenous spices commonly known in Nigeria are namely: Aframonum longiscarpum (K. schum), Allium cepa L and A. Sativum L, Anona senegalensis Pers, Arachis hypogeal L, Asystasia gagentica (T. anders), Capiscum annum L and C. frutescens L, Cymbopogon critrates L, Diociecia reflexa, Gnetum africanum, Gongronema latifolium, Keayodendron brideliode, Mondora myristica, Ocimum  gratissimum L, Parkia biglobose L, Xylopia aethiopica, among others (Adelaja, et al., 2008).

Underutilized crops’ are plant species whose nutritional or dietetic utility has not been fully documented or understood (Agulanna, 2020). Underutilized crops provide valuable macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, as well as bioactive non-nutrients that contribute to dietary health (Fanzo et al., 2013; Dulloo et al., 2014). Nigeria has a rich resource of indigenous and underutilized crops, which possess health or physiological benefits over and above the normal nutritional value they provide (Agulanna, 2020). Dansi et al. (2012), however, argued that the potential of most indigenous crops has not been fully exploited, hence their underutilization. According to Agulanna (2020), under-valued crops if well-harnessed, can play a great role in promoting food security not only in Africa but also globally.

Cussonia bateri is an underutilized crop known as ‘Ako-sigo’ in yoruba, ‘Tuwon giwa’ in hausa, ‘Bolo Koro’ in Senegal and ‘Kokobidua’ in Ghana, while the seeds are called ‘jansa’ seeds (Cameroun), ‘Ugbaokwe’ (Igbo), ‘Takandagiwa’ (Hausa) and ‘Shigo’ (Yoruba) in Nigeria (Nwokonkwo, 2013). Cussonia bateri is common in Northern Nigeria; it is a small twisted savanna tree with thick corky bark. The leaves are oborate with lateral nerves; the flowers are greenish-white, with whitish fruits. The seed of C. bateri is used in soup and has a pleasant aroma and sweet taste (Nwokonkwo et al., 2016). The phytochemical results on the seeds of C. bateri revealed the presence of alkaloid, flavonoid, tannin, saponin, glycoside and phenol which indicated that the seeds could be useful medicinally (Nwokonkwo, 2013).


One of the most challenging issues in the world today is how to provide sufficient food to more than seven billion people around the globe (Perez-Escamilla et al., 2017). Food security is a complex, multifaceted concept usually influenced by culture, environment and geographical location. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) gave a clear definition of food security at five different levels (individual, household, national, region and global), as when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for active and healthy life (Perez-Escamilla et al., 2017).


The immense food applications of spices has resulted in overdependence on convectional spices such as onion, thus resulting to underutilization of some novel indigenous spices. Underutilized crops are those species with their potentials, not fully exploited, to contribute to food security and poverty alleviation, and that tend to have the following common features: a strong link to cultural heritage; poorly documented and researched; adapted to specific agro-ecological niches; weak or non-existent seed supply systems; traditional uses; and produced with little or no external inputs.In Nigeria, over dependence on a few available spice remains a major challenge due to its potential impact and contribution to food security. Besides, there is dearth of information in literature on the chemical composition of C. bateri, an underutilized spice in South East, Nigeria. This underscores the reason for the research.



1.3.1 General objectives of the study

The general objectives of the study was to evaluate the chemical composition of an underutilized spice (Cussonia bateri) in South East, Nigeria.

1.3.2 Specific objectives of the study

The specific objectives were to:

i.               determine the proximate composition (Moisture, crude protein, fibre, ash, fat, carbohydrate) of C. bateri

ii.              determine the mineral content (Zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium) of the C. bateri

iii.            evaluate the vitamin content (β-carotene, vitamin B1,B2, B3, B6 and C) of the C. bateri

iv.            assess the phytochemical content (Tannin, polyphenols, flavonoids, phytate) of C. bateri.


Spices have been used in food and beverages to enhance organoleptic attributes of foods like aroma, flavour and colour. It is consumed by both children and adults. The benefits of indigenous and underutilized food crops like spices are quite numerous. The most apparent benefit is that they are a source of food for people, they promote food security for societies, and as well possess immense health, nutritional and economic benefits, in addition to promoting food security in the country. Processing of spice from underutilized crops like Cussonia bateri is a cost-effective means of enhancing its utilization. This will reduce overdependence on convectional spices like onions, provide phytochemicals which is well known to possess health benefits to human and as well prevent C. bateri from going into extinction. Food processing industries will find spice produced from C. bateri highly valuable considering its low cost and the fact that it is an indigenous product. Data obtained in this study will be of immense benefits to food professionals and researchers since there is inadequate literature on C. bateri and its potential products. More so, this study will enhance research on C. bateri and as well improve its incorporation in food.


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