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This study ascertained the indigenous knowledge and uses of Pentadesma butyracea plant through a focus group study. The proximate, mineral, antinutritional compositions, and antioxidant activity of P. butyracea seed were also determined using standard analytical methods. The results of the focus group study showed that P. butyracea is essentially used for its butter which is prepared by women processors who hand down the skill of butter processing to their children. The butter is used for cooking, frying, and preparing traditional delicacies, and the plant is known to possess some therapeutic potential. The seed recorded the following mean proximate values: fat content of 35.82%, carbohydrate of 50.97%, 1.81% ash, 2.68% protein, 1.34% crude fibre, and moisture of 7.39%. The most abundant mineral in the seed is potassium (32.93 mg/100 g). Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, and zinc were at levels of <10 mg/100 g. Antinutritional factors found present in P. butyracea seed include oxalate (2737.42 mg/100 g), tannins (55.44 mg/100 g), saponins (10.23 mg/100 g), and alkaloids (9.18 mg/100 g). Also, the P. butyracea seed recorded mean total phenolics of 725.85 mg GAE/gdw), total flavonoids of 2313.15 μg (QE)/gdw, and DPPH activity of 82.02%. Although rich in fat, carbohydrates, and some minerals that can be exploited in food applications, the high contents of some antinutrients may pose nutritional challenges to its use. The findings from the indigenous knowledge investigation about Pentadesma butyracea seeds would partly influence the choice of appropriate processing approaches to maximising its value regarding food security challenges of indigenes in the study areas.


This article was originally published in Scientific African, volume 21, in 2023.

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