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Dr Emmanuel B Tanor and Dr Sibusisiwe Magama (National University of Lesotho)

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 32-45, 2020Objective: The study aimed at determining the nutrient content of nine selected wild leafy vegetables growing in Roma Valley of Lesotho as a means to achieve food security, improve nutritional and dietary diversity and address malnutrition in rural communities.


The vegetables were analysed for proximate composition, and Ca, Mg, Na, P, K, Fe, Mn, Se, Cu and Zn and vitamin C. Analyses were carried out using standard methods.

Results: The proximate analysis revealed a high in moisture (81.15-92.23%) statistically similar (p< 0.05), some were rich in protein, vitamin C, Cu, Mn, K and Fe. Chenopodium album has the highest protein (31.53±8.65 mg/100 g) fresh weight (FW); and Rorripa nudiscula (51.4% of RDA). Chenopodium album and Rorripa nudiscula were rich in Ca, 1598.21±15.25 mg/100 g FW and 1508.50±25.40 mg/100 g FW and in Mg, 505.14±35.55 mg/100 g FW and 525.18 mg/100 g FW respectively. The vegetables were rich in K, but low in Na, with Na-to-K ratio< 1.0, indicating that the vegetables could be ideal source of balanced sodium and potassium intake in diet. The vegetables were rich in Cu with ranging from 114.4% of RDA in Rorripa nudiscula to 342.2% of RDA in Chenopodium album. Fe was abundant in Rorripa nudiscula 251.7% of RDA and Chenopodium album 187.8% of the RDA. Mn was abundant in Amaranthus cruentus 557.8% of the RDA, in Chenopodium album or 245.7% of the RDA, in Rorripa nudiuscula, 205.5% of RDA, Amaranthus thunbergii (130.9% of RDA), moderate amounts in Amaranthus caudatus (1.94±0.36 mg/100 g FW or 84.4%) and Amaranthus spinosus (83.5% of RDA). The content of Se was moderate: Rorripa nudiscula (38.3% of RDA). Amaranthus thunbergii (20.50±0.27 µg/100 g FW, 37.3% of RDA), Amaranthus spinosus (34.0% of RDA) and Lactuta serriola (20.7% of RDA). Zn was high in Chenopodium album (117.3% of RDA) moderate in Rorripa nudiscula (35.6% of RDA) Lactuta serriola (23.9% of RDA), Amaranthus spinosus (19.6% of RDA), Amaranthus caudatus (15.9% of RDA). Most of the nutrient were statistically similar at p< 0.5.

Conclusion: The nutrient composition indicated that the vegetables could be good source of minerals and vitamin C and could be incorporated in rural household diets to improve nutrition, address malnutrition and food insecurity.

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