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ARTICLE ID : 87005
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A REVIEW OF THE NUTRITIONAL AND PROXIMATE COMPOSITION OF MELON SEEDS

 

CATEGORY : Serminar

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0    INTRODUCTION

Egusi melon- citrullus colocynthis L., commonly known as colocynth the bitter apply, bitter cucumber, egusi or vine of sodom, also referred to as curcurbita citrullus L., coloaynthis citrullus L. or citrullus lanatus thumb., as documented by Quattrocchi (2000) in the CRC world Dictionary of plant Name A-C belong to the cucurbitaceae family, a large plant family which consists of nearly 120 genera and 825 species (Milind and Kulwat, 2011). This plant family is known for its great genetic diversity and widespread adaptation which includes locations. Curcubits were known for their high protein and oil content. Seeds of curcubits are sources of oils and protein with about 50% oil and up to 35% protein (Achu, 2005). Specifically for these reasons they are cultivated and consumed world over. “Egusi” (citrullus colocynthis L.) belong to the species of the genus citrullus of cucurbitaceae family, which usually consist of large number of varieties that are generally known as melons. Egusi (citrullus colocynthis L.) is among the 300 species of melon found in tropical Africa and it is cultivated for its seeds, which have been reported to be rich in oil and protein. The regions of its cultivation are Middle East, West African (Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin) and other Africa countries for the food in the seeds and as a crop inter-planted with maize, cassava and yam. As reported by Giwa et al., 2010. In Nigeria only, “Egusi” is cultivated over an area of 361,000 ha with a production figure of 347, 00 tonnes (as seeds) in 2002. It is of 347,000 tonnes (as seeds) in 2002. It is used both as condiment and thickener in Nigerian local soup, and the industrial scale production of the oil is yet to be utilized despite the huge potential. Various studies have reported predominately high linoleic fatty acid content in Egusi melon seed oils. Due to the unsaturated fatty acid composition of its oil, it has been reported to resemble that of safflower (Yaniv etal, 1999), corn, cotton seed, sunflower, soybean and sedame oil (Oluba eet al, 2008).

          Almost all “melon” has nutritional, therapeutic and economic value. The edible family member, momordica charantia, called bitter melon or bitter gourd in English, is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit. This has been reported to have quite a number of medicinal uses ranging from antiviral, antidiabetic, antiulcerogenic, antioxidant and hepatoprotective (semiz and sen, 2007) to antihelmintic (Beloin et al, 2005), antimalarial (waako et al, 2005), anticancer (kohno et al, 2004, kobori et al, 2008) to cardio protective properties (Gadang et al, 2011). Also, cucumis melon (musk melon or cantaloupe) has been shown to possess useful  medicinal properties which include anti-oxidant, free-radical scavenging, anti-platelet, antiulcer, anti-microbia, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-helmintic, antifertility, analygesic and anti-inflammatory. (Milind and kulwant, 2011). The cantaloupe is rich in caretenoids which the body uses as vitamin A. throughout this write up “egusi,” (citrullus colocyrrthis L.) has been refered to as “egusi” or “ egusi melon” for proper identification and consistency with the literature .Atraditonal food plant in Africa , this little known vegetable ,we agree with NCR (2006) ,has potential to unproved nutrition ,boost food security ,foster rural development  and support sustainable Land care .In this review ,the nutritional and medical benefit of egusi melon –citrullus colocynthis L.are discussed ,with a view to elucidating and presenting the immense benefit hidden away in these seeds around us which have the potential to unlock better health by serving   as both food and medicine at relatively low cost for our needy world.

1.1    DESCRIPTION

The grow in ground which is mainly cultivated for their seed as the flesh is neither sweet nor edible, Egusi are small and flat. One end of the seed is rounded while the other is tappered. Egusi, melon is an annual herbaceous, monoecous plant which is creeping but non-climbing. Pollination is by insect and egusi melon fruit which are indehiscent smooth berries, often large and seedy, are ready for harvest 3-4 month after planting (Ng, 1993). In a work published in 2004 in the journal of heredity tittle “inheritance of Egusi seed type in watermelon”,  the authors , Gusmini  et al. Referred to egusi as an unusual seed mutant in water melon (citrullus Lanatus ) and has seeds with a fleshly  pericarp, commonly called  egusi seeds  . The reported that the origin of the phenotype is unknown, but it is widely cultivated in Nigeria for the protein and carbohydrate content of the edible seeds. Egusi seeds have a thick, fleshly pericarp that appears during the second to third week of fruit  development .After harvest, the  gourd are left to ferment, the fermented flesh is then wash off the seeds.  The seeds are then dried and the light brown husks removed by hand or mechanically. When ready to be used in food recipes, the white / cream seeds are ground into powder and used as soup thickener.

Egusi, seeds are in a class of their own and should never be mistaken as the pumpkin or water melon seeds. In particular the name “egusi” may refer to either or both plant (or more generically to other cucurbit) in the capacity as seeds crops, or to a soup made from these seeds and popular in West Africa.

 

 

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