Tiger nut (Cyperus esculentus): Nutrient profiling using HPLC and UV-spectroscopic techniques
Keywords:amino acids, minerals, nutrition, vitamins, chemistry, tiger nut
Food insecurity and undernourishment constitute a major challenge in Africa and the world at large. To meet key nutritional targets and tackle the menace of undernourishment, we need to exploit available but underutilised food crops. A common underutilised food crop with the potential to improve daily nutrition is tiger nut. This potential is evidenced in the number of essential amino acids detected, which constitute 74.425% of the entire amino acids detected, in addition to important minerals and vitamins. The nutritional composition of the yellow variety of tiger nut (Cyperus esculentus) was determined using the standard methods of high-performance liquid chromatography and UV-spectroscopy. Ten amino acids were identified and quantified, including six essential amino acids, of which valine had the highest concentration (67.59 μg/100 g), followed by leucine (3.019 μg/100 g), phenylalanine (1.767 μg/100 g), lysine (0.946 μg/100 g), histidine (1.048 μg/100 g) and tryptophan (0.055 μg/100 g). The other amino acids were proline (24.124 μg/100 g), cysteine (1.269 μg/100 g), glycine (0.024 μg/100 g), and glutamine (0.022 μg/100 g). Monosaccharides detected were ribose (41.76%), glucose (21.52%), sedoheptulose (17.94%), fructose (4.566%), rhamnose (1.78%) and mannose (1.58%), whilst disaccharides detected were sucrose (87.66%) and maltose (11.39%). Mineral concentrations were K 144.80 ± 1.10 mg/100 g, Ca 94.39 ± 0.02 mg/100 g, Na 83.92 ± 0.04 mg/100 g, Fe 19.36 ± 0.54 mg/100 g, Mg 17.63±0.13 mg/100 g, Cu 13.28±0.05 mg/100 g and Zn 5.18±0.01 mg/100 g Vitamins A, B2, C and E were detected and quantified as 53.93±1.03, 7.61±1.20, 31.70±1.25 and 128.75±0.74 μg/100 g, respectively. The chemical and nutritional properties of the yellow variety of tiger nut suggest that it is rich in essential amino acids, minerals, and some vitamins. Hence, it should be recommended to persons with nutritional deficiencies as it is cheap and available all year round.
- The nutritional composition of the yellow tiger nut will assist in meeting the recommended daily intake of essential amino acids, monosaccharides, disaccharides, minerals, and vitamins, thus contributing towards solving the challenge of food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly in the African sub-region.
- The rich concentration of these nutrients could be harnessed in the biofortification of food materials known to be deficient in one nutrient or another.
- These important attributes of tiger nut, if harnessed, will add value to this underutilised crop and enhance the economic livelihood of the local farmers.
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