Amino Acid And Sugar Compositions Of Phoenix Dactylifera

Amino Acid And Sugar Compositions Of Phoenix Dactylifera (Date Fruits) Sold In Abakaliki.


This study was carried out to evaluate the amino acid and reducing sugar composition of Phoenix dactylifera sold in Abakaliki. Amino acid profile and reducing sugar composition were analysed using standard method. The results obtained revealed the presence of ninety (19) amino acids in the fruits of Phoenix dactylifera with proline and tryptophan as the major amino acids. The result also revealed the presence of trimethysone. The result equally revealed the presence of glucose (340 nm), fructose (530 nm) and sucrose (620 nm) in the Phoenix dactylifera fruit. This indicates that Phoenix dactylifera fruits are good source of essential amino acids, energy and the consumption should be encouraged.


1.0                                                        INTRODUCTION

                        Phoenixdactylifera L (Date palm) is a palm plant belonging to the family Aracaceae and is known as dabino in Hausa, Dates in English and tamr in Arabic (Uba et al., 2015).  It is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world owing to its high profile nutrients and health promoting properties (Al-Shahib and Marshall, 2003).The tree is commonly found in the Canary Island, Northern Africa, Arabia and south west of Asia to Pakistan and India. The date palm is a multipurpose tree providing, fiber, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins besides having certain medicinal properties (Al-Farsi et al., 2005). Date fruits are the products of date palm tree (Sultana et al., 2015).

It is a berry kind of fruit, distinguished from most other fruits with a number of distinct growth phases including ‘hababook’, ‘kimri’, ‘khalal’, ‘rutab’ and ‘tamar’. ‘Barhee’ is one of the most important and commercial date cultivars in the world. Its fruit can be consumed in the three distinct commercial maturation stages especially at khalal stage, when most other date cultivars are inedible (Glasner et al., 2002; Mrabet et al., 2008; Myhara et al., 1999 and Ahmed et al., 1995). Dates fruits are considered a complete diet and a very important item of food. The date fruit is consumed fresh and also used in the preparation of syrup, jams, table jellies, paste and dried date (Barreveld, 1993 and Mortazavi et al.,2015). Fruits of the date palm is rich in mineral salts and vitamins and is an excellent material for producing refined sugar, concentrated juice, confectionery pastes and fermentation products (Biglariet al., 2009). Dates contain small amounts of vitamins C, B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin and nicotinic acid, and studies (Elleuch et al., 2008) have shown that dates have strong antioxidant, anticancer and antiviral activities (Eman   and   Rahman, 2015).

Dates have 25% more potassium than bananas while being free from fat, sodium and cholesterol. Dates play an important role in the diet and treatment of obesity and are the most important sources of energy and food in date producing and non date producing areas (Uba et al., 2015).  Recently, it has been found that date fruit might be of benefit in glyacemic and lipid control of diabetic patients and have also been identified as having antioxidant and antimutagenic properties (Mansouri et al., 2005). Date fruits are the staple food of the Middle East and very popular in Islamic countries. Worldwide production of date fruit has increased almost threefold over the last 40 years, reaching 7.68 million tons in 2010 (Sultana et al., 2015). Date fruit has been recommended in folk remedies for the treatment of various infectious diseases, cancer and heart diseases (Uba et al., 2015).

In Nigeria, particularly in the northern part, date has become a major source of nutrition and energy source among Muslims and even the non-muslim community. For Muslims, it is a customary religious meal for breaking day long fast during the holy month of Ramadan (Uba et al., 2015).  There wholesome savory taste of all natural sugar invites the most culinary creativity. As an ingredient to any recipe, dates provide the perfect natural alternative to added sugar. It is the sources of natural sugar like glucose, fructose and sucrose that furnishes body with instant energy (Uba et al., 2015).  The protein in dates contains 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas. Dates may contribute to the human diet with high quality of some essential amino acids (Al-Shahib, and Marshall, 2003b).

Amino acids is defined as biologically important organic compounds containing amine (-NH2) and carboxylic acid (-COOH) functional groups, usually along with a side-chain specific to each amino acid. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, though other elements are found in the side-chains of certain amino acids. About 500 amino acids are known and can be classified in many ways (Savelieva et al., 2008). They can be classified according to the core structural functional groups’ locations as alpha- (α-), beta- (β-), gamma- (γ-) or delta- (δ-) amino acids; other categories relate to polarity, pH level, and side-chain group type (aliphatic, acyclic, aromatic, containing hydroxyl or sulfur, etc.). In the form of proteins, amino acids comprise the second-largest component (water is the largest) of human muscles, cells and other tissues. Outside proteins, amino acids perform critical roles in processes such as neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis (Hertweck, 2011). In biochemistry, amino acids having both the amine and the carboxylic acid groups attached to the first (alpha-) carbon atom have particular importance. They include the 22 proteinogenic (“protein-building”) amino acids, which combine into peptide chains (“polypeptides”) to form the building-blocks of a vast array of proteins (Wang et al., 2009).  Amino acids can be placed in the category of either essential or non-essential.

Reducing sugar on the other hand is any sugar that is capable of acting as a reducing agent because it has a free aldehyde group or a free ketone group.All monosaccharides are reducing sugars, along with some disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. The monosaccharides can be divided into two groups: the aldoses, which have an aldehyde group, and the ketoses, which have a ketone group. Ketoses must first tautomerize to aldoses before they can act as reducing sugars. The common dietary monosaccharides galactose, sucrose glucose and fructose are all reducing sugars (Leotério et al.. 2015).

The nature and concentration of sugars and organic acids in fruits have been of interest because of their important influence on the organoleptic properties and their important roles in maintaining fruit quality and determining nutritive value (Uba et al., 2015).  Though there are numerous documented literature around the world on nutritional and medicinal uses of different varieties of date fruits, there is little documented information on the amino acids profile and reducing sugar in dates fruits dominating (sold all-year-round) the Nigerian markets (Uba et al., 2015).

1.1    Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study was to evaluate the amino acid and reducing sugar composition of  date fruits sold in Abakaliki.

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