International Journal of Ecosystem

p-ISSN: 2165-8889    e-ISSN: 2165-8919

2019;  9(1): 6-11



Proximate and Mineral Composition Analysis of the Leaves of Amaranthus cruentus and Ocimum gratissimum in Some Selected Areas of Lagos State, Nigeria

Oluwole S. O.1, Fajana O. O.2, Ogun M. L.1, Ogbe A. A.1, Ademola O. A.1

1Department of Botany, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria

2Department of Biochemistry, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria

Correspondence to: Oluwole S. O., Department of Botany, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria.


Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).


Vegetables are commonly grown crops all over the world. Thus, this study tends to determine proximate and mineral composition analysis of two commonly consumed vegetable leaves; African spinach (Amaranthus cruentus) and scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) in relation to locations. The plants samples were collected from three different locations in Lagos State Nigeria, namely; Lasu campus in Ojo, Abule-Ado in Amuwo-Odofin and Agric Farm in Ikorodu area. The experiments were carried out using standard analytical procedures. Proximate analysis results revealed that the values of moisture content, crude fat, crude fibre, crude proteins, carbohydrate and ash content ranged between 15.67 - 77.43%, 1.40 - 3.67%, 2.76 - 11.00%, 2.80 - 10.53%, 5.80 - 30.87% and 6.90 - 31.37% respectively. Mineral element analysis showed that the leaf samples of A. cruentus and O. gratissimum contained appreciable amounts of Calcium (13.65 - 23.00 mg/100g), Sodium (21.10 - 34.80 mg/100g), Iron (13.03 - 28.13 mg/100g) and Zinc (31.03 - 36.53 mg/100g). Although minute quantities of Lead (0.01 – 0.02mg/100g) were recorded in the two leaf samples, Cadmium was however not detected in the leaf samples. This study has shown that the leaves of A. cruentus and O. gratissimum are rich sources of nutrients and minerals essential for optimal growth and development of human and farm animals and these nutrients and mineral compositions are relatively influenced by environmental factors and or human activities.

Keywords: Proximate and Mineral compositon, Amaranthus cruentus, Ocimum gratissimum, Location

Cite this paper: Oluwole S. O., Fajana O. O., Ogun M. L., Ogbe A. A., Ademola O. A., Proximate and Mineral Composition Analysis of the Leaves of Amaranthus cruentus and Ocimum gratissimum in Some Selected Areas of Lagos State, Nigeria, International Journal of Ecosystem, Vol. 9 No. 1, 2019, pp. 6-11. doi: 10.5923/j.ije.20190901.02.

1. Introduction

Vegetables are the fresh and consumable portions of herbaceous plants, which can be eaten wholly or in parts, raw or cooked as part of main dishes [1]. Vegetables may be edible fruits, seeds, flowers, leaves, stems, roots, bulbs and tubers [2]. Vegetables are important sources of macro and micro elements which are highly important for the maintenance of good health and prevention of diseases [3].
Most of the commonly eaten vegetables are the succulent leaves of plants; they are eaten as supplementary foods, side dishes or in soup as condiments, or eaten with other main dishes [4]. Leafy vegetables are regular ingredients in the diet of the average home in most tropical countries of Africa. These vegetables are valuable and cheap sources of important food types especially in rural areas where they contribute substantial quantities of proteins, minerals, vitamins, fibres and oils which are usually in short supply in daily menus [5]. In Nigeria, different types of leafy vegetables are eaten singly or in combination by different ethnic groups and they have been reported to contain ingredients which are useful in building up and repairing body tissues [6]. In rural areas of most developing countries, where poverty and natural disaster wreak havoc, the majority of the populace still depends heavily on starchy food as main sources of energy and protein thereby leading to the prevalence of protein deficiency amongst the people [7].
Furthermore, minerals cannot be produced by human and farm animals and as such they must eat mineral rich plants including leafy vegetables and water [8]. Vegetables also serve as buffers for acidic compounds produced during food digestion [9].
Two of the most commonly eaten vegetables in Nigeria are Occimum gratissimum and Amaranthus cruentus. O. gratissimum (Scent leaf) belongs to the family Lamiaceae. Its vernacular names in Nigeria include Efirin (Yoruba), Ahuji (Igbo), Aramogbo (Edo), and Daidoya (Hausa) [10]. It is an erect small plant not more than 1m high distributed throughout the tropic and subtropics regions of the world. It is cultivated in homes and leaves are used widely as vegetables, condiments and in traditional medicine to treat upper respiratory tract problems, skin diseases, pneumonia, cough, headaches, fever, conjunctivitis and as mosquito repellants [11]. A. cruentus is a fast growing vigorous erect annual plant that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. The plant can grow up to 2m and is often cultivated in home gardens as leafy vegetables in Nigeria. In traditional medicine the leaves are employed as laxatives, tapeworm expellant and anti- tumor.
However, whether the A. Cruentus and Ocimum gratissimum leaves nutritional compositions are affected by different planting locations as a result of varying soil factors or as a result of some other environmental factors like ecological, have not been much worked upon.
Thus, locations determine the properties of soil in different places and this may leads to different compositions of the soil nutrients [12,13] and then could lead to varying chemical constituents of the same plants grown on it.
Environmental conditions in different areas could contribute to varying soil properties and varying compositions of the plants.
The essence of this study was to evaluate the proximate composition and mineral constituents of two important and commonly consumed leafy vegetables viz: A. cruentus and O. gratissimum in relation to locations.

2. Materials and Methods

Collection of Plant Materials
Figure 1. Map of Lagos State Showing Sample Locations
The two leafy vegetables (A. cruentus and O. gratissimum) (Figures 2 and 3) were freshly harvested from local farms in three different locations in Lagos (Lagos State University (LASU) Campus in Ojo Local Government area, Abule Ado in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government area and Agric Farm in Ikorodu Local Government area) (Figure 1).
Figure 2. Image showing O. gratissimum plants
Figure 3. Image showing A. cruentus plants
Processing of Plant Materials
The fresh leaves of the vegetables were thoroughly and separately washed with deionized distilled water. Afterwards, they were dried in the oven by exposing the leaves to a constant temperature at 45°C for 3-4 days. The leaves were then grounded into fine powder using dried pestle and mortar.
Proximate Analysis
The proximate analysis for the leafy vegetable samples for moisture, ash, crude fibre and fat were carried out following the standard methods of AOAC [14]. Nitrogen was determined by micro-kjeldahi method as described by Pearson [15] and the percentage nitrogen was converted to crude protein by multiplying by 6.25. Carbohydrate was determined by difference. All findings were performed in triplicates.
Mineral Analysis
The mineral constituents of the leafy vegetable samples were analysed using the solution obtained by dry ashing the samples at 550°C and dissolving the ash in distilled deionized water in flask. All the minerals (Ca, Fe, Na, Zn, Cd and Pb) were analysed using atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Buck Scientific Model 200A).

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Proximate Composition

The percentage moisture contents of the analysed leafy vegetables revealed that A. cruentus and O. gratissimum contained 16.11 and 75.73% respectively (Table 1 and Figure 4, 5). These values were higher than those reported earlier for some Nigerian leafy vegetables by Onwordi et al. [6]. A. cruentus contained higher ash content (30.88%) when compared to O. gratissimum (7.12%) (Table 1). The ash contents obtained are similar to those of O. gratissimum reported by Fagboun et al. [16] and A. hybridus [17]. Ash content is of significant importance in foods as they account for the mineral constituents [18]. The crude protein contents of A.cruentus and O. gratissimum reported in this study (Table 1 and Figure 4, 5) were low when compared to the protein contents of some leafy vegetables in other studies by Onwordi et al. [6], Asaolu et al. [19] and Fagboun et al. [16].
Table 1. Proximate composition (%) of the two leafy vegetables
Figure 4. Comparison of Mean proximate concentration of O. gratissimum from different locations
Figure 5. Comparison of Mean proximate concentration of A. cruentus from different locations
The crude fibre of the two investigated vegetables ranged from 3.14 -10.68% (Table 1 and Figure 4, 5). The crude fibre content of A. cruentus particularly fell within the reported values (8.50 – 20.90%) for some Nigerian vegetables [20]. Dietary fibre helps to lower serum cholesterol level, risk of coronary heart diseases, constipation and diabetes [21].
The carbohydrate content of A. cruentus (30.10%) was higher than that of O. gratissimum (6.63%) (Table 1). The carbohydrate content of A. cruentus (30.10%) could be comparable to 29.4%, 31.34% and 32.84% of A. cruentus, Cochorus olitorius and A. argenta respectively as reported by Onwordi et. al. [6] but the value was higher than the values reported for some leafy vegetables consumed in Nigeria which includes Vernonia amygdalina (8.65%), O. gratissimum (1.22%) and Hibiscus sabdarifa (15.79%) [19]. Carbohydrate constitutes a major class of naturally occurring organic compounds which are essential for the maintenance of life and also provide raw materials for many industries [22]. The percentage fat values of the A. cruentus and O. gratissimum are 1.62% and 3.59% respectively (Table 1 and Figure 4, 5). These values are slightly higher than the fat content of some leafy vegetables commonly consumed in Nigeria, 0.45% in A. cruentus, 0.21% in A. argenta and 0.32% in C. olitorius as reported by Onwordi et al. [6] and lower compared to some other vegetables consumed in West Africa [23]. The crude fat analysis shows that leafy vegetables are poor in lipids and this confirms their relevance as good diets for healthy living.
However, in comparison, the results reveals that the moisture contents, crude fibres, fats and ashes of O. gratissimum obtained from different locations were similar; crude proteins and carbohydrates obtained from LASU Ojo Campus was higher than those obtained from other locations (Figure 4). The moisture contents obtained from A. cruentus was similar to those of Abule Ado and LASU Ojo Campus locations with Ikorodu showing greater affinity (Figure 5). These findings was supported by Oluwole et al. [24], attributed these variation to abiotic factors such as water, soil mineralization, and so on within and around the locations.

3.2. Mineral Composition

The mean concentration value of calcium of A. cruentus (20.83mg/g) was higher than that of O. gratissimum (14.40 mg/g) (Table 2 and Figure 6). The calcium levels in the leaves studied were lower than the values reported in some green leafy vegetables eaten locally in Nigeria [19]. Calcium has been reported to aid the growth and maintenance of bone, teeth and muscles [25]. Zinc contents varied from 31.60 mg/g (O. gratissimum) to 34.33mg/g (A. cruentus) (Table 2). These values were higher when compared to the values obtained from the mineral analysis of some vegetables as confirmed by Fagboun et al. [16]. Zinc is known to play a significant role in the normal functioning of the immune system and it is also associated with protein metabolism [26]. The investigated leafy vegetables are good sources of zinc because they are well above 6.23mg/g recommended Borgert et al. [27].
Table 2. Mineral composition (mg/g) of the two leafy vegetables
Figure 6. Comparison of Mean mineral concentration (mg/g) of the two leafy vegetables from different locations
The Iron (Fe) and Sodium concentrations of A. cruentus (26.2mg/g and 34.18mg/g) were higher than that of O. gratissimum (14.76mg/g and 22.18mg/g). These values compare favourably with the findings of Ibrahim et al. [26].
Fe is an essential trace element for haemoglobin formation, oxidation of fat, carbohydrate and proteins [28]. Cadmium was not detected in the two vegetables while Lead was detected in extremely low amounts (0.01mg/g). Lead, Cadmium and other heavy metals are known to be highly toxic even in low concentration to living organisms.
Thus, in comparison, the quantities of Ca, Fe in O. gratissimun in both Abule-Ado and LASU Ojo Campus were similar compare those in Ikorodu, while Abule-Ado showed greater affinities for Na in O. gratissimum than those in Ikorodu and LASU Ojo Campus and Zn compositions of O. gratissimum in both Abule-Ado and Ikorodu showed greater affinities than those of LASU Ojo Campus (Figure 6). However, Ca proportions in A. cruentus in both Ikorodu and LASU Ojo Campus were higher than those in Abule-Ado; A. cruentus in Ikorodu showed greater affinities for Fe than others, LASU Ojo Campus showed higher Na compositions than others while Zn compositions in both Abule-Odo and Ikorodu showed similar proportions than LASU Ojo Campus (Figure 6). These differences in mineral compositions at different locations were attributed to both direct and indirect impacts of human activities and natural soil profiles [29].

4. Conclusions

Findings from this study have shown that the investigated leafy vegetables are highly nutritious source of food. Both vegetables contains varying amount of nutrients and minerals in relation to locations. These vegetables also contains very low amount of heavy metals and fat which suggest that if consumed in sufficient amount, they would help to maintain normal growth and development.
It therefore, recommends the consumption of these two vegetables from the different locations studied as they are safe and highly rich in nutrients. Thus, vegetables contribute a number of minerals and enable their continuous availability from time to time. Minerals are important vital body functions such as acid base and water balance.
However, further researches should be conducted on the effects of weather or season on the nutritional composition of the leaves of A. cruentus and O. gratissimum and or whether the nutritional compositions will be affected when cooked or eaten raw.


Authors extend gratitude to Prof. Osonubi, O. for his scholarly advise during the compilation of the manuscript, and lastly to our anonymous reviewers for their editorial insights.


[1]  Asaolu S.S. and Asaolu, M.F., (2010). Trace Metal Distribution in Nigerian Leafy Vegetables. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 9 (1): 91-92.
[2]  Robinson, D. S. (1990). Food biochemistry and nutritional value. Longman scientific and technical publisher, New York. USA.
[3]  Nnamani, C. V., Oselebe, H. O. and Okporie, E. O. (2007). Ethnobotany of Indigenous leafy Vegetables of Izzi Clan in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. In: Proceedings of 20th Annual National Conference of Biotechnology Society of Nigeria. Abakaliki, November 14th 17th, p. 111-114.
[4]  Van, E., Gordon J. and Noble I (1968). Effect of Blanching, freezing, freezing-storage and cooking on Ascorbic Acid retention in vegetables and comparison of electronic vs conventional cooking of vegetables. J. Am. DietetAssoc.35: 241- 870.
[5]  Mohammed, M. I., and Sharif, N. (2011). Mineral composition of some leafy vegetables consumed in Kano, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Science 19(2): 208-211.
[6]  Onwordi, C. T., Ogungbade, A.M. and Wusu, A.D. (2009). The proximate and mineral composition of three leafy vegetables commonly consumed in Lagos, Nigeria. Afr. J. Pure Applied Chem. 3: 102-107.
[7]  Ogbe, A.O and Affiku, J. P. (2011). Proximate study, mineral and antinutrient composition of Moringa oleifera leaves harvested from Lafia, Nigeria: Potential in poultry benefits in poultry nutrition and health. Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Science. 1(3): 296-308.
[8]  Anjorin, T.S., Ikokoh, P. and Okolona, S. (2010). Mineral Composition of Moringa oleifera leaves, Pods, and seed from two region in Abuja, Nigeria. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 12: 431 – 434.
[9]  Thompson, H. C. and Kelly, W. C. (1990). Vegetable Crops. 5th (ed.) New Delhi: Mac Graw Hill Publishing Company Ltd, pp. 120-125.
[10]  Effraim, I.D., Salami, H.A., Osewa, T. S. (2000). The effect of aqueous leaf extract of Ocimum gratissimum on haematological and biochemical parameters in rabbits. Afr. J. Biomed Res.3:175–179.
[11]  Ilori, M., Sheteolu, A.O., Omonibgehin, E. A. and Adeneye, A. A. (1996). Antibacterial activity of Ocimumgratissimum (Lamiaceae). Journal Diarrhoeal Disease Research 14: 283–285.
[12]  Iqbal, S. and Bhanger, M.I. (2006). Effect of season and production location on antioxidant activity of Moringa oleifera leaves grown in Pakistan. J. of Food Comp. and Anal. 19: 544-551.
[13]  Brady, N.C. and Well, R.R. (2002). The Nature and Properties of Soils, 13ed, Prentice-Hall Inc. New Jersey, USA.
[14]  AOAC, (2005): Official methods of Analysis of Association of Analytical Chemists. AOAC International, 18th ed; Horrowitz, W. (ed) vol 1 & 2, AOAC International Maryland, USA pp 774-784.
[15]  Pearson, D. (1976). Chemical analysis of food, 7th (ed.), Churchill, London, pp.218-336.
[16]  Fagbohun, E.D., Lawal, O.U and Ore, M.E. (2011). The proximate, Mineral and Phytochemical Analysis of the leaves of Ocimumgratissilium L. Melanthera Scandens (Schum & Thonn) Roberty and Leeaguiheensis G. Don. International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology. 3 (1): 15-22.
[17]  Iheanacho, K., and Ubebani, A. C. (2009). Nutritional composition of some leafy vegetable consumed in Imo- State. Nigeria. Journal of Applied Science and Environment Management 13 (3): 35-38.
[18]  Edema, M and Okiemen, F.E (2000), Proximate Composition of some nutritionally valuable mineral functional properties of walnut (Tetracapedium chonophorum). Pakistan Journal of Science and Industrial Research 43: 267-707.
[19]  Asaolu, S.S., Adefemi, S.O., Oyakilome, I.G., Ajibulu, K.E and Asaolu, M.F. (2012). Proximate and mineral composition of Nigeria leafy vegetables. Journal of Food Reseach 1(3): 214-218.
[20]  Isong, E., and Idiong, U. (1997). Nutrient content of the edible leaves of seven wild plants from Nigerian. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 51:79-84.
[21]  Ishida, H., Suzuno, H., Sugiyama, N., Innami, S., and Todokoro, T. (2000) National evaluation of chemical component of leaves stalks and stem of sweet potatoes (Ipomea batata) Food Chem. 68: 359-367.
[22]  Ebun-Oluwa P.O, Alade AS (2007). Nutritional potential of Belandier Nettle spurge Jatropha cathatica seed. Pak. J. Nutr., 6: 345:348.
[23]  Sena, L.P., D.J. Vanderjagt, C. Rivera, A.T. Tsin and Muhamadu, I. (1998). Analysis of nutritional components of eight famine foods of the republic of Niger. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 52: 17-30.
[24]  Oluwole, S.O., Ogun, M.L. and Balogun, O.A. (2018). Effects of different watering regimes on the growth of Talinum triangulare Jacq. (Waterleaf). Journal of Research and Review in Science. 5: 14-23.
[25]  Okaka, J.C., Enoch, NTA. And Okaka, N. C. A., (2006). Food and Human Nutrition. O.J. C Academic Publishers, Enugu, Nigeria. pp135-153.
[26]  Ibrahim, N.D.G, Abdurahman, E.M. and Ibrahim G (2001). Elemental analysis of the leaves of Vernonia amygdalina and its biological evaluation in rats. Niger. J. Nat.. Prod. Med. 5: 13-16.
[27]  Borgert, I., Briggs, G.M. and Calloway, H., (1975). Nutritional and physical fitness W. B saunder and Co., Philadephia, USA. Pp 34-50.
[28]  Adeleye, E. and Otokiki, M.K.O. (1999). Proximate composition and some nutritionally valuable minerals of two varieties of Capsicum Annu. Discovery Innovations 11: 75-81.
[29]  Lamidi, W.A., Murtadha, M.A. and Ojo, D. O (2017). Effects of Planting Locations on the Proximate Compositions of Moringa oleifera leaves. Journal of Applied Science and Evironmental Management. 21(2): 331-338.