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African Salad- Natron and Palm-Bunch Ash

African salad- Comparative Organoleptic Evaluation of Natron and Palm-Bunch Ash and Their Effects on Some Biochemical Parameters in Albino Rats


African salad- Natron (“akanwu”) and Palm-bunch ash (“ngu”) are common tenderizers used locally in preparation of African Salad (Abacha) in South Eastern part of Nigeria. The sensory evaluation and mineral composition were investigated on the two samples while the effect of the Natron and Palm bunch ash were carried out on hepatobiliary, haematological, electrolyte  and lipid effects in Albino Rats. The animals were grouped into five namely; A, B, C, D and E. Groups A, B, C and D were sub-grouped into two each. Namely; Group A1, B1, C1, and D1 and groups A2, B2, C2, and D2 while the group A1 was fed with 50g of akanwu and 100g of feed, Groups B1 was fed with 100g of akanwu and 100g of feed, Group C1 was fed with 200g of akanwu and 100g of feed while group D1 was fed with 400g of akanwu and 100g of feed. Group A2 were fed with 50g of ash and 100g of feed, Groups B2 was fed with 100g of ash and 100g of feed, Group C2 was fed with 200g of ash and 100g of feed while group D2 was fed with 400g of ash and 100g of feed respectively and served as treated groups. Group E was fed feed only and served as control. Sensory characteristics of akanwu and palm bunch-ash in preparation of abacha was investigated using multiple comparison sensory test, the products were assessed on a 9 points Hedonic scale by a 15 member trained panel. The result showed significant elevation in texture, colour and taste when compared with the control. The mineral composition of akanwu and ash varies with Ash having higher values of magnesium, nitrate, chloride, zinc, phosphate and aluminium than akanwu. The serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were significantly (p<0.05) higher in the exposed groups than the control. There was a significant elevation at P <0.05 in the level of all groups except the group fed with 50g of ash when compared with the control. Bilirubin was significantly elevated in exposed groups when compared with the control. The increase in the levels of haemoglobin (Hb), packed cell volume (PCV) and white blood cell (WBC) in the treated groups was significant (p<0.05) relative to the control. There was a significant decrease in the level of red blood cells of the treated groups when compared with the control. The mean values of the Bicarbonate ion (HCO3) Na+, K+ were significantly elevated (p<0.05) when compared with the control groups while Cl was significantly reduced at (p<0.05) when compared with the control groups. The values of cholesterol (CHOL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) & triglycerides (Tg) obtained from the exposed groups were significantly (p<0.05)elevated . However, high density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration of the exposed group was significantly (p<0.05) lower than the control group. Results obtained from this research revealed that akanwu was more toxic than palm-bunch ash when taken in higher dosage. These effects on the tested parameters were found to be dose-dependent. The results of histological studies on liver confirm the above findings. Thus, Photomicrographs of the liver revealed mild to moderate distortion of hepatic architecture, increased perfusion, and focal area of degenerative changes and aggregation of inflammatory cells, hemorrhage and extensive loss of tissues (necrosis). The effects of these ingredients on the measured parameters are indicative of possible damage to the organs.


1.0.                                                      INTRODUCTION   

African salad- Food additives are stuff that is further put to food, to conserve, increase flavor, taste and appearance (Martin, 2008). Such additives include tingling food with vinegar, salting with bacon and preservation of sweets and wines with sulfur dioxide. These food additives may or may not be good for human consumption (Martin, 2008). Food additives are divided into groups namely acids that are put to food to sharpen flavors such as vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid etc. Another group is Acidity regulators which involves the control of acidity and alkalinity of foods. There is also some stuff that is anticaking agents which keep substances like milk powder from sticking. Some other additives prevent foaming in foods and are referred to as antifoaming agents. Vitamin C also acts as preservatives. It reduces the effect of oxygen on food. Emulsifiers allow water and oils to stay together in uniform. This is observed in mayonnaise, ice cream and homogenized milk. Other groups include thickeners, sweeteners, stabilizers, preservatives, tracer gas humectants that prevent food from drying out, glazing agent, flour treatment agents, flavor enhancers and flavors which provide food with a unique sensation. (Dybing, 2002).  Some additives have been proven to be harmful. Some of the non natural food additives are associated with cancer, digestive issues, neurological disorder, heart disease and obesity (Whysner et al., 1996). Some natural additives are also harmful, like enhancing the sensation of root beer with safrole which later proved carcinogenics (Whysner, et al., 1996). Some food additives may cause disease and health risk; but a lot of them contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients etc.(Mccann et al., 2007). They lessen bacterial, fungi and yeast spoilage from air (BUCCI, 1995).

Elaeis giuneensis is also known as oil palm. It is a tropical plant. It breeds in temperate weather at a height beneath 500 meters above the ocean (Fitzherbert et al., 2008). It originated from Gulf of Guinea in West Africa ((Fitzherbert et al., 2008)). The plant is widely grown in Nigeria and it is known in Nigeria as the palm tree. It is a costly monetary produce which creates job (Jattri, 2008) and it is a major source of edible oil used in our foods (Jattri, 2008).

Sodium sesqui-carbonate (Na2CO3.NaHco3.2H2O) is locally called akanwu by Igbos in Nigeria. It is also known as Crystal soda and occurs as carbonate called Trona or as bicarbonate called Natron and greyish in colour ((Nasiru et al., 2011). It is used in tanning leather, toothache relief and liver stimulant but when taken in large doses, irritates stomach causing heartburn (Nasiru et al., 2011). In the respiratory system, it induces secretion of the respiratory mucosa to act as an expectorant. It serves also as tenderizer, thickener and seasoning for culinery purposes (Mccann et al., 2007). It is used for preparation of Abacha because it forms emulsion with palm oil ((Nasiru et al., 2011). It can be used to fasten and tenderize tough cuts of meat and legumes such as breadfruit (Nasiru, 2011). Akanwu is added to soups, legumes, meat and sauces to increase viscosity in soups like okra and ewedu and can be added to colloid oil and water (Mccann et al., 2007).

 Electrolytes are the main components of body liquids. They enter the body in food we consume and brew we gulp. The electrolytes go away largely from the kidneys by means of urine, skin and excreter. Severe vomiting and diarrhea result in both water and electrolyte imbalances. The concentrations of electrolytes in body fluids must be maintained within specific limits because any small deviation outside these limits can have life threatening consequences.

The lipid profile measures total cholesterol, high density lipoproteins (HDLs), low density lipoproteins (LDLs), very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) and triglycerides to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease (Devlin, 2002).

Abacha  popularly known as African salad is produced from cassava tubers. The cassava tubers are pilled, boiled and sliced into pieces using grater. The sliced ones are soaked in cold water for 8-12 hours, washed and sun dried. African salad (abacha) when properly dried can stay over one year intact.  It is served as kola in some Eastern part of Nigeria.

Sensoryanalysis (organolepticevaluation)   is a scientific technique that uses human  organs such as eye, nose, mouth, and ear for the purposes of assessing consumable products. This involves a set of human assessors who investigate the products by testing, and recording the observed results. Through the analysis of observation made, it is possible to infer the aesthetic value of the products under review. Organoleptic evaluation involves effective, affective and perceptive testing. Effective testing implies analysis of objective facts. Affective testing implies analysis of subjective facts such as preferences while perceptive testing deals with the biochemical and psychological aspects of sensation. Mineral are essential elements that exist in non-organic form and they comprise about 4% of body composition by weight (Okaka and Okaka, 2005). Minerals constitute total ash obtained from combustion of organic matter and include a few non-metallics, which volatilize into gas even at reasonable low temperature. Minerals have been used over centuries in treatment of disease like goiter (Seaweed ash) and anemia (Iron) (Okaka et al., 2006). Minerals are required in small amounts; hence are tagged micronutrients. Like some other nutrients, mineral elements have been divided into essential and non-essential groups.

1.1.    Aim

 The aim of this study was to evaluate the organoleptic properties of African salad (Abacha) prepared with natron(Akanwu) and palm-bunch ash and their effects on  biochemical and histological  parameters on albino rats.

1.2. The specific objectives are:

  1. To determine the mineral composition of natron (akanwu) and palm bunch ash (ngu).
  2. To conduct organoleptic (sensory) evaluation of african salad prepared with natron (akanwu) and palm bunch ash.
  3. To determine the effect of natron (akanwu)  and palm bunch ash on electrolyte profile of albino rats
  4.  To determine the effect of natron (akanwu) and palm bunch ash on ALT, AST and ALP.
  5. To determine the effect of natron (akanwu) and palm bunch ash on hematological parameters; Hb, PCV, and WBC.
  6. To determine the effect of the natron (akanwu) and palm bunch ash on lipid profile of treated albino rats.
  7.  To conduct histological studies on the liver.

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