CHEMICAL AND ANTI OXIDANT PROPERTIES OF PEPPER FRUIT BLACK PEAR MONKEY KOLA

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CHEMICAL AND ANTI OXIDANT PROPERTIES OF PEPPER FRUIT BLACK PEAR MONKEY KOLA

CHAPTER ONE

1.0. INTRODUCTION:

Piper nigrum (pepper fruit) is an indigenous fruit tree of the family Annonaceae (Etukudo, 2000). It’s widely distributed and consumed by the inhabitants of Western Cameroons, Ivory Coast and Southern Nigeria (Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1954; Keay et al., 1960; Okiy, 1960). It is a medium- sized or small tree which spreads throughout the rain forest and sometimes found in forest within the Savanna areas (Keay et al., 1964). Piper nigrumfruits appear red when ripe and green when unripe. The matured fruits constitute the main edible portion. The leaves, fruit, bark and root of the plants possess strong pepperish and pungent spicy taste with a characteristic aroma and fragrance. The young leaves and fruits have instinctive spicy taste (Achinewhu et al., 1995). The fruits are chewed in different forms (fresh green, fresh ripened red, black dry fruit and dry seed).

Piper nigrum fruit serve as mild stimulant to the consumer (Aiyeloja and Bello, 2006; Ndukwu and Nwadibia, 2006; Oyemitan et al., 2006). The fruits and leaves are used as seasonings which are added to prepared food such as meat, soup, sausage and in some special local dishes and vegetables (Ejechi and Akpomedaye, 2005). Dennettia plant yields a good fuel wood (Abbiw, 1990 and Duguma et al., 1990). Its various parts are commonly used as spices and condiment (Oyemitan, 2008). The fruit is sold for money especially by rural women.

Piper nigrum fruits have been reported to contain important nutritive substances such as vitamins, minerals and fiber (Okwu et al., 2005). It was also indicated that the rich presence of essential oil (oleoresins) determines the aromatic flavoring, coloring and pungent properties of pepper fruits. Nwaogu et al. (2007) investigated phytochemical content of Piper nigrum and detected the presence of saponins, flavonoids, tannins and cyanogenic glycosides. Also Adebayo et al., (2006) reported the presence of flavonoids in Dennettia tripetala. The intake of flavonoids in any fruit and vegetable tends to decrease cancer risk (Neuhouser, 2004; Graf et al., 2005). Flavonoid according to Harpens et al., (1979) contributes to the colour of plants, their fruits and flowers. Timothy and Okeke (2005) reported that ingestion of 0.75g of Piper nigrumreduces the intraocular pressure (IOP) of normotensive emmetrops though not sustained at 30 minutes post consumption. The IOP was reduced by 17.30% (12.90 mmHg) from the mean baseline of 15.60mmHg.

 

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CHEMICAL AND ANTI OXIDANT PROPERTIES OF PEPPER FRUIT BLACK PEAR MONKEY KOLA

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