African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 9(41), pp. 6927-6931, 11 October, 2010 Available online at http://www.academicjournals.

org/AJB ISSN 1684–5315 © 2010 Academic Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Comparative analysis of the chemical composition of three spices – Allium sativum L. Zingiber officinale Rosc. and Capsicum frutescens L. commonly consumed in Nigeria
Gloria A. Otunola1*, Oyelola B. Oloyede2 Adenike T. Oladiji2 and Anthony J. Afolayan3
Department of Home Economics and Food Science, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. 2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. 3 Phytomedicine Research Centre, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700, South Africa.
Accepted 17 May, 2010

The beneficial health effects of spices against common chronic systemic diseases have been well documented. Comparative study of the proximate, mineral and phytochemical components of three spices namely garlic (Allium sativum L.), ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.) were investigated. Analysis of the proximate composition revealed that the spices had considerable carbohydrate and crude protein content, but low ash, fibre, moisture and fat except pepper which has high crude fat content. The spices were also characterized by the presence of mineral elements such as calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, copper and zinc which are very important to human nutrition. Phytochemical screening indicated that these spices are also rich in phytonutrients including alkaloid, tannin, carotenoids, saponin and flavonoids. The spices had low concentrations of steroids and cardenolides. Overall, the findings indicate that the spices are good sources of nutrients, mineral elements and phytochemicals which could be exploited as great potentials for drugs and/or nutritional supplements. Key words: Comparative, nutritional, supplements, spices. INTRODUCTION Spices are any of several vegetable substances used to season or flavor food. They are usually dried for use and have distinct flavor and/or aroma. Common examples include cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, garlic, onion, curry, ginger and thyme. They stimulate appetite by increasing the flow of gastric juice and are used in most homes and restaurants all over the world (Nwinuka et al., 2005). Spices are used either whole, ground, or in the form of extracts (oils and oleoresins). The beneficial health effects of spices have been well documented (Mensah et al., 2009; Bhattacharjee and Sengupta, 2009; Soetan and Aiyelaagbe, 2009). Many spices have been reported to have antimicrobial properties, cholesterol lowering effects, anti-diabetic and anti inflammatory properties (Suekawa et al., 1984; Kwada and Tella, 2009). The consumption of garlic has the potential to reduce arterial plaque and possess antioxidant properties on skin cancer (Koscienly et al., 1999; Das and Saha, 2008). According to Thomson et al. (2002), the consumption of ginger led to reduction in blood cholesterol and also served as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent. Nwose (2009) reported the importance of pepper as antioxidant nutrition therapy used to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and respiratory diseases. In Nigeria, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, liver cirrhosis and osteoporosis are some of the common chronic systemic diseases that are the major causes of morbidity. In addition, drug–resistant micro organisms are a serious public health concern because they are difficult to treat (Schmidt, 2003). Therefore, the need for new

*Corresponding author. E-mail: Tel: (+27)0781290356, (+234)08035605718.

35 ± 0. were quantitatively and qualitatively investigated (Harbone. Therefore.72 ± 0. the present study was designed to compare the chemical properties of these spices which are usually combined when used. Biotechnol. there was no significant difference in Zn. carotenoids.01 a 73. phosphorous and magnesium (Table 2). (2002) using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (Pye Unican Sp9. UK. 2005). Adebayo of the Department of Botany. The Phytochemical analysis tannins.10 b 11.55 ± 0.58 ± 0. However. manganese (Mn). Carbohydrate content was significantly high in garlic.35 ± 0.13 a 12.01 b 2.. University of Ilorin and the voucher specimens were deposited at the University of Ilorin Herbarium (UIH). potassium. flavonoids and saponins when compared with garlic and ginger. Pepper had a higher K content when compared with garlic and ginger.01 b 5. with ginger having the highest value and garlic the lowest. Nigeria. phosphorus (P). Cu and Mn values among the three spices.10 ± 0. The minerals determined were sodium (Na). MATERIALS AND METHODS Sample collection and preparation Garlic. cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb).13 b 68. ash and moisture while carbohydrate was calculated by subtracting the sum of the values of the other nutrients from 100. The phytochemical analysis indicated that the spices are rich in phytonutrients (Table 3). there was no information in scientific literature on the comparative analysis of the chemical composition of these three spices namely. The level of Ca and Fe in garlic was markedly higher than that of ginger and pepper.6928 Afr. Table 1. therapeutic agents is pertinent and spices are considered as one of the most promising agents (Rios and Reccio.15 b 4.01 Pepper b 5.D and were statistically analyzed using one way analysis of variance (ANOVA).61 ± 0.37 ± 0. copper (Cu).08 ± 0. manganese.10 b 2.13 c 8. cobalt (Co).70 ± 0. iron. magnesium (Mg). The plant materials were authenticated by Mr.70 ± 0. There was a significant difference in the protein content in all the spices. (2002) were used to analyze the proximate composition of the spices for protein. zinc (Zn). The powder obtained was stored in airtight plastic containers under refrigeration until needed for use. Proximate and mineral analyses The methods described in AOAC.70 ± 0. Proximate composition of garlic.05. while the values for Na and P were significantly higher for ginger.01 c 62. Allium sativum.).15 ± 0.13 a 3. Parameters Moisture Ash Crude protein Crude fat Crude fibre Carbohydrate Garlic c 4. potassium (K). 2005). copper. J. The spices were washed. fat. flavonoids. fibre. 1973. Values were considered significant at p < 0. Means were separated by the Duncan multiple test using SAS (2002).10 a 15. steroids and cardenolides The phytochemical contents of the three spices including alkaloids. with garlic having the highest value followed by pepper. a-c Test values along the same row carrying different superscripts for each parameter are significantly different (p < 0. ginger and pepper were bought at the local Ipata Market in Ilorin.94 ± 0. while ginger had the lowest value. followed by ginger and lowest in pepper. Pepper had a significantly high crude fat content compared to garlic which had only a trace and ginger with low content as indicated in Table 1.01 a 6. 1979 and Edeoga et al. . Cambridge. RESULTS The proximate composition indicates that the three spices contained appreciable amount of carbohydrates suggesting that they can be ranked as carbohydrate rich spices (Table 1). The three spices had low moisture contents which were significantly different from each other. Odebiyi and Sofowora. calcium.30 ± 0.33 ± 0. Statistical analysis All data were expressed as mean ± S. calcium (Ca).05) in ginger when compared with garlic and pepper. Pepper has a significantly high content of carotenoids. Nigeria. thinly sliced. The ash and fibre contents were significantly higher (p < 0.11 b 4.01 Composition (%) Ginger a 6.01 c 0.01 Values are mean ± SD of 3 replicates. The findings from this study may justify the usage of these spices for their medicinal purposes as well as nutritional supplements. saponins. The mineral analysis was carried out as described by Okalebo et al. The mineral analysis of the three spices indicated their richness in sodium. oven dried at 60° C for 72 h and milled. while Pb. iron (Fe).25 ± 0.22 ± 0. Ca and Co was not detectable. Before the commencement of this work. ginger and pepper. zinc. Zingiber officinale and Capsicum frutescens commonly consumed in Nigeria.05).

Mineral composition of garlic.00 b 4...00 b 3.29 ± 0.16 ± 0. however. 2001). 2005).00 b 4.02 ± 0.20 ± 0. K and Fe were found in relatively high amount in the three spices.02 1.001 ± 0.00 c 23.05). Steroids and cardenolides were present in trace amounts in all the three spices.54 ± 0.76 ± 0. therefore.00 0. The high crude protein content of garlic and pepper may be due to the presence of active proteinous metabolites such as allicin.00 a 0. The data obtained for the proximate analysis of the spices agree with earlier reports and indicates that they contribute nutrients to the diet (Dashak and Nwanegbo.02 ± 0. Phytochemicals Alkaloids Tannins Carotenoids (µg/100 g) Saponin Flavonoids Steroids Cardenolides Composition (%) Garlic c 2. a-c Test values along the same row carrying different superscripts for each parameter are significantly different (p < 0.001 ± 0.08 b 10. Percentage composition of phytochemicals in the spices.00 ± 2. Saponin was present in trace amount in ginger.00 0. Low ash is usually an indication of low inorganic mineral content (Oloyede.60 ± 0.64 ± 0.37 0. Sodium.50 ± 0. (2001).50 ± 0. pepper may not be rated as an oil seed.01 0. Mg. 2000.00 ± 0.28 a 12.54 ± 0.40 a 0.002 ± 0. the oil could be extracted for use as essence or essential oil (Okwu and Nnamdi.06 b 0.21± 0. Hence.41 5.00 ± 1.17 a 0. According to Dashak et al.02 0.14 a 26.45 ± 0.00 a 0.08 a 229.001 ± 0.04 ± 0.02 b a 0. the nutritionally important ones such as Ca.33 ± 0.55 ± 0.00 3.46 ± 0.00 c c Ginger b 11.80 ± 0.04 ± 0.07 ± 0.00 a 0. 2005.00 648. 6929 Table 2.03 1. ajoene and capsaicin. Table 3. a-c Test values along the same row carrying different superscripts for each parameter are significantly different (p < 0.00 b 4.002 ± 0.00 c a a 0.30 ± 0.00 0.86 6.00 a 0.28 b 3.14 Composition (mg/100 g) Ginger a 5.04 ± 0. Mineral Sodium Calcium Iron Phosphorous Potassium Zinc Copper Manganese Magnesium Garlic b 4.001 ± 0.Otunola et al. The reduced moisture content in the spices is an indication that their shelf life would be prolonged and that deterioration due to microbial contamination would be limited (Dashak et al.44 ± 0.40 ± 2.00 ± 1. Though high in crude fat content.00 c 0.01 0.19 ± 0.05).77 ± 0.56 ± 0. Nwinuka et al.00 Values are mean ± SD of 3 replicates. 2006). Edeoga et al.00 a b Pepper a 13. while flavonoids were significantly low in garlic when compared with ginger and pepper. the normal daily protein requirement for a normal adult is 45 .15 b 9. The reduced levels of crude fibre obtained for the three spices posed no threat since they are not usually consumed in isolation but as adjuncts or additives to other foods. The mineral elements contained in these spices are very important in human nutrition.35 Pepper b 4. calcium and magnesium play a central role in the normal .00 ± 0.21 b 215.39 ± 0. unlike garlic which had quite a low content.89 ± 0.00 ± 0.00 ± 0. tannin content in ginger was high compared to garlic and pepper.86 a 7.10 ± 0. DISCUSSION The proximate analysis revealed that the three spices can be ranked as carbohydrate rich due to their high calorie content. ginger and pepper. however. their low fibre contents serves as a boost to the total dietary fibre of the dishes in which they are used.34 ± 0.71 b 0. potassium.56 ± 0.10 ± 0.35 b 25.38 ± 0.14 a 5. while pepper and garlic had an appreciable amount of the compound. Both pepper and ginger had significantly high contents of alkaloid.00 a a a b a a Values are mean ± SD of 3 replicates.00 a 5.00 a 0. 2008).26 c 54.50 g. these spices could serve as supplements since they are usually combined in human main dishes.

Afr. Nwose EU (2009). Sofowora EA (1979). Association of Official Analytical Chemists. asthma. Pepper soup as an antioxidant nutrition therapy. 115: 216-220. 1997. The high carotenoid content of pepper compared to virtually none in garlic and ginger is not surprising as carotenoids are largely responsible for the red colour of peppers (Tripathi and Mishra. Tella IO (2009). 2009). Bhattacharjee S. Med. Siegel G. Environ. 9: p. Flavonoids are known to protect against allergies. Sci. Atherosclerosis. Odebiyi OO. Chemical Composition of hyptis suaveolens and Ocimum gratissimum hybrids from Nigeria. Internet J. Conclusion The present study has provided some comparative biochemical information on the proximate. foeniculum vulgare and Trachyspermum ammi. 1999). It is increasingly being realized that a lower than normal dietary intake of Mg can be a strong risk factor for hypertension. Health Persp. Nippon-Rinsho. Environ. 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