EFFECT OF PROCESSING ON THE NUTRACEUTICAL POTENTIAL OF NTURUKPA (PTEROCARPUS SANTALINOIDES) LEAF
Samples from Nturukpa leaf were processed using different processing methods. The first portion was oven dried at 50oC for 8 hours while the second portion was further divided into four parts and steam blanched at 100oC for 2, 4, 6 and 8 minutes, respectively. After blanching, each part was also oven dried at 50oC for 10 hours. Each dried sample was milled into flour. The third portion was wet milled (1:2 leaf: water, w/v), filtered and the filtrate was pasteurized at 65oC for 30 minutes. The fourth portion was further divided into four parts and each part was steam blanched at 100oC for 2, 4, 6 and 8 minutes, respectively. After blanching, each part was also wet milled (1:2 leaf: water, w/v) filtered and each filtrate was pasteurized at 65oC for 30 minutes. Fresh, unblanched macerated sample served as control. Samples from all the treatments were analyzed for chemical composition. Effects of the samples on haematological characteristics were evaluated using albino rats. Chemical composition of the samples revealed that untreated dried vegetable flour showed the highest value of crude protein (19.63%) which differed significantly (P<0.05) from the values exhibited by treated samples. The level of iron (17.77mg/100g) in untreated dried leaf flour was also significantly (P<0.05) higher than the level in the macerated sample (control). The untreated dried leaf flour showed 29.81mg/100g of vitamin C content which was significantly (P<0.05) different from the values exhibited by the treated samples. Processing also influenced the phytochemical contents of the samples. The phytochemical constituents of the untreated dried leaf flour sample was significantly (P<0.05) higher than the levels of phytochemicals in the blanched and pasteurized samples. The bioassay data showed that the group of rats treated with high dose of untreated dried leaf flour had higher values of heamoglobin concentration (13.66g/dl) and red blood cell count (6.01× 106 /µl) which differed significantly (P< 0.05) from those treated with blanched and pasteurized samples.