D K Mugera, J N Kinyuru, M W Mwaniki, G N Njoroge, C Onyango


Wild food plants play an important role in the diet of inhabitants of Ithanga Division as famine foods during the lean season. However, there is lack of comprehensive data regarding the nutrient contents of these widely consumed food plants. The study was done to determine nutritional value of selected wild food plants to enhance utilization, identifying the superior ones essential for managing malnutrition and food insecurity. Ten plant species (Grewia tembensis, Cucumis dipsaceus, Commelina africana, Amaranthus dubius, Grewia bicolor, Lantana camara, Amaranthus Hybridus, Cyperus rotundus, Commelina diffusa and Oxygonium sinuatum) were collected washed, dried at 600C for two hours and grounded into powder. They were analyzed for moisture, crude protein, crude fibre, crude ash, β- carotene, vitamin C, zinc, and tannin content. The moisture content ranged from 48.33 % in Cyperus rotundus to 90.77% in Oxygonium sinuatum while crude fibre content ranged between 6.29 mg/100g dmb in Lantana camara and 20.73 mg/100g dmb in Amaranthus dubius .The crude protein ranged from 1.68-11.6 mg/100g dmb highest in Oxygonium  sinuatum  and lowest in Lantana camara. The ascorbic acid and β carotene content were highest in Cucumis dipsaceus (50.39 mg/100g) and Amaranthus dubius (5240 µg/100g) respectively, lowest in Commelina africana (7.60 mg/100g) and Lantana camara (20 µg/100g) respectively. The zinc content was highest in Oxygonium sinuatum (28.15 mg/100g dmb) and lowest in Grewia bicolor (0.38 mg/100g.dmb). The ash content ranged from 1.03-21.20 % dmb with fruits having the lowest ash content and wild leaves had the highest ash content .The tannin content ranged between 678-3169 mg/100g dmb highest in Grewia bicolor and lowest in Cucumis dipsaceus r. Based on the preliminary results, we can conclude that wild food plants analysed are good source of macro and micronutrient and can be used to improve food security.

 Key words: Wild food plants, crude protein, zinc, tannin, Kenya             


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