Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Room: Exhibit Hall
Valdel Lekane Tedjouteu - Bowie State University
Co-Author(s): Anne Osano, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD; Joshua Ogendo, Egerton Unoversity, Njoro, Kenya; Richard Mulwa, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya; Milcah Wambua, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya.
In Africa, food security has significantly increased over the course the years due to climate change and lack of diversity in food supply. With corn being the staple food in Kenya, other crops like cassava (Manihot esculenta), show potential to provide an additional source of nutrition. A tuberous edible plant of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) and native in the South American tropics, cassava has been shown to have extensive utilization in parts of Africa. However, it is an underutilized source of nutrition in Kenya due to the local perception of highly poisonous constituents contained within the leaves. Properly prepared, cassava leaves are good sources of vitamins, protein, iron, and other micronutrients that are essential to healthy diets. The objective of this study was to analyze the nutritional (protein and fiber) and antinutritional cyanide and phytates) content of cassava leaves from five varieties (AdhiamboLera, Wild cassava 3, Wild cassava 1, KME-4, and selele) in Kenya. We hypothesize that there is no significant difference in protein and fiber content from vegetable leaves of the 5 varieties of cassava, as well as there is no significant difference in Cyanide and Phytate content from vegetable leaves of the 5 varieties of cassava. Fresh vegetable grade cassava leaves were collected from Migori County in Kenya at 7 months after planting in the summer of 2022. Samples were transported in cold boxes to Egerton University Biotechnology Lab in Nakuru, Kenya, and prepared for analysis within 24 hours. Nutritive factors analyzed were protein content determined using the Latimer, 2016, method and fiber content using AOAC, 2016 method. Anti-nutritive factors analyzed were cyanide content determined using the alkaline titration method and phytate content using Makkar et al., 2007, method. Results indicated that fresh leaf protein content was highest in Wild cassava 3, KME-4, and selele compared to AdhiamboLera and Wild cassava 1. Fiber content varied significantly among the varieties with AdhiamboLera posting the highest content at 22%. All the varieties registered above WHO tolerable levels of cyanide (10 mg/100g), with Wild cassava 1 having the highest level at 31 mg/100g. Phytates content was generally low except in one variety (Wild cassava 1), which registered a high level at 1500 mg/100g. The result obtained indicated that cassava leaves can be a good source of dietary proteins and fiber, and upon proper processing, detoxification of cyanide can be achieved to make them safer as vegetables. Future direction includes analyzing the metagenomic profiles of the cassava varieties to develop methods for detoxification of leaves.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): U.S. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates, REU Site: REU: Global Engagement Research Experience for Undergraduate Students in Food Security: A focus on Indigenous Vegetables and Grain Crops; the "Forgotten Food" Crops of Kenya. (Award No. 1757607; PI-Osano
Faculty Advisor: Anne Osano, email@example.com
Role: I worked closely with my professor in designing the experiment. In addition to collecting samples from research farms, several cultural engagement activities were conducted. I also completed the nutritional analysis process and data analysis with my graduate mentor. I worked with my professor and graduate mentor in developing my poster. I am currently finalizing a manuscript for potential publication.