PHYTOCHEMICAL SCREENING AND CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF Maesobotrya barteri (NDEMEIDIOT)
Maesobotrya barteri is a well known plant in southern Nigeria. The potential medicinal and nutritional value of the seeds and fruits of this plant were investigated. The phytochemical screening of the seeds and fruits revealed the presence of alkaloids [+], saponin [+], tannin [+] and flavonoid [+]. Chemical analysis showed that the seeds and fruits contain Alkonoid [1.24-1.34%], phenol (0.38-0.42%), tannin (0.22-0.26%), saponin (0.14-0.22%), and falvnoid (0.14-1.18%). The result of vitamin determination showed that the seed and fruits of the study plant contain ascorbic acid (22.29-361.39%/100g). Vitamin A(6.6.17-12.57mg/100mg) and vitamin E (0-13.26mg/100g). This shows that maesobotrya barteri is a high quality plant with nutritive and medicinal values, used as food and drug.
Green leafy vegetable constitute an indispensable constituent of human diet in Africa generally and West Africa in particular (Oguntoma, 1986). The varieties of leafy vegetables utilized are diverse, ranging from leaves of annual and shrubs to leaves of trees. These leafy vegetables are known to be good source of nutrients and are highly beneficial for the maintenance of health and prevention of disease. In Nigeria, most of rural dwellers rely on the leaves gathered from the wild as their main source of leafy vegetables and throughout the years, these non-conventional vegetables play an important role in their everyday cooking. Until recently, little attention has been given to the role of these wild and semi-wild vegetables in Nigeria and one of such is Maesobotrya barteri.
Maesobotrya barteri is of the Emphorbiaceae family, a rain forest flowering plant that reaches a height of 10 m. it occurs in several parts of the world including Sierra leone, Southern Nigeria and western Cameroon (Keay, 1989). It bears fruit from April to June, which is up to 1 cm long, avoid and often distinctly pointed (Dalziel, 1994). The fruits are edible and succulent and the different parts of the plant have also been in use in local communities for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, cough, Uretherald discharge, Jaundice etc. (Mitchell et al., 1973).