PHYTOCHEMICAL AND PROXIMATE COMPOSITION OF Brachystegia eurycoma (ACHI) and Mucuna flagillepes (IBABA) SEEDS ON DRY WEIGHT BASIS
Phytochemicals are natural bioactive compound found in plants.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring, biologically active chemical compounds in plants. The prefix “phyto” is from a Greek word meaning plant.
Phytochemicals are divided into two groups; primary and secondary groups. These classes and their functions in plant metabolism includes amino acids, sugars, protein and chlorophyll are known as primary compounds while secondary compounds consists of alkaloids, glycosides,
flavonoids, steroids and tannins etc. Harbone,et al(1999)
In food science the term ” Phytochemicals ” includes a variety of plants ingredients with different structures that are capable of health-promoting effects. Phytochemicals are natural substances but are not synthesized by plants neither in energy metabolism nor in anabolic or catabolic metabolism, but only in specific cell types. They differ from primary plant compounds in that they are not essential to the plant. Phytonutrient perform important tasks in the secondary metabolism of plants as repellents to pest and sunlight as well as growth regulators.
Phytochemicals are frequently confused with Phytonutrient. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants and are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and grains. Whereas Phytochemicals include plants compounds that are beneficial as well as those that are detrimental, phytonutrients specifically refers to compounds that have a positive effect in other words, all phytonnutrients are Phytochemicals, but not all Phytochemicals are phytonutrients. The distinction between Phytochemicals and phytonutrients is an important one, as not all Phytochemicals are beneficials. Technically, cocaine, codeine, oxycodone, and nicotine are all Phytochemicals. Even ricin, one of the most deadly and potent poisons in the world, is a Phytochemicals. This doesn’t mean that all Phytochemicals are bad, quite the opposite some Phytochemicals ofter incredible health benefits.
Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties. They are non-essential nutrients, meaning that they are not required by the human body for sustaining life. it is well-known that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves but recent research demonstrate that they can also protect human against diseases. There are more than thousand known Phytochemicals. some of the well- known Phytochemicals are lycopene in tomatoes, isoflavones in soy and flavonoids in fruits.