keywords: Underutilized fruits, nutritional, minerals, phytochemical, antinutrients, microbial
This study examined the moisture, ash, fat, crude fibre, crude protein, carbohydrate, energy value, minerals, vitamins, anti-nutrients and shelf-life of four underutilized fruits: ackee (Blighia sapida), Cashew Apple (Anarcadium occidentale), African garden egg (Solanum aethiopicum) and African bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis) growing in Southwest Nigeria. The presence of essential minerals such as Na, K, Mg, Ca, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn and phosphorus was confirmed in all the fruits. However, I. garbonensis had the highest concentrations of Na (120.03 mg/100 g), K (80.32 mg/100 g), Ca (148.5 mg/100 g), Fe (3.42 mg/100 g), Cu (2.03 mg/100 g), Mn (1.56 mg/100 g) and Zn (2.43 mg/100 g).The vitamin and antinutrient contents ranged between 30.6-420.34 mg/g and 0.35–25.78 mg/g indicating that the fruits contain low levels of antinutrients considered to have harmful effect on human health. The highest microbial count was recorded in A. occidentale within five and ten days of storage. The nutritional contents of the fruits showed that they contained appreciable quantities of all the nutrients studied and could contribute to the nutrient requirements of humans.