DETERMINATION OF THE PRESENCE AND CONCENTRATION OF SOME PHYTOCHEMICALS IN AVOCADO PEAR (PERSEA AMERICANA MILL) SEED
Phytochemical screening to determine the presence and concentration of tannins, saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols and cardiac glycosides in Persea americana was carried out. The sample was prepared by cutting the seed into small pieces, drying and grinding with Thomas Willey milling machine. The ground sample was stored in an airtight container for analysis. The presence of alkaloid was determined by Wagner’s test, flavonoid by ferric chloride test, tannin by acid test, saponin by emulsion test and cardiac glycoside by glacial acetic acid test. Quantitative determination of some of the phytochemicals was also carried out using standard methods. Result for qualitative analysis shows that alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins and cardiac glycosides were present in P.american and sterols were absent. The quantitative result shows that alkaloid has the highest percentage of concentration (21.54%), followed by saponin (8.10%), flavonoid (6.97%), cardiac glycoside (6.94%) and tannin has the least percentage concentration (1.45%).
Background of the study
Phytochemicals are a large group of plant derived compound hypothesized to be responsible for much of the disease protection conferred from diets high in fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals and plant-based beverages such as tea and wine (Hollman, 2005). They are biologically naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants . They protect plants from disease and damage and contribute to the plants colour, aroma and flavor. They also protect plants from environmental hazards such as pollution, stress, drought, uv exposure and pathogenic attack. These Phytochemicals are known as secondary metabolites.
Recently it is clearly known that phytochemicals have roles in the protection of human health when their dietary intake is significant.
A wide range of dietary Phytochemicals are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fungi, herbs and spices (Mathai, 2000). It is well known that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves, but recent research demonstrate that many phytochemicals can also protect humans against diseases (Narasinga, 2003). The most important of these bioactive constituents of plants are alkaloids, tannins, steroids, terpenoids and phenolic compounds. In recent years secondary plant metabolites previously with unknown pharmacological activities have been extensively investigated as a source of medicinal agents. Thus it is anticipated that phyto-antimicrobial efficacy will be used for the treatment of bacterial infection (Balandrin et al., 2005).
Persea Americana is one of the 150 varieties of avocado pear. The seeds of Persea Americana has a diverse application in ethnomedicine, ranging from treatment for diarrhea, dysentery, toothache, intestinal parasites to the area of skin treatment and beautification (Pamplona and Roger, 1999). P. americana leaves have been reported to posses anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities (Adeyemi et al., 2002). The seeds are rich in tannins and carotenoids and tocopherols from the fruit were shown to inhibit the in-vitro growth of prostate cancer cell lines (lu et al, 2005) and “persin” from avocado leaves was shown to have antifungal properties and to be toxic to silkworms (oelrichs et al., 1995). The effect of P.americana extract was evaluated on in-vitro rat lymphocyte proliferation (Gomezflores et al., 2008). Antioxidant activity and phenolic content of seeds of avocado pear was found to be greater than 70% (Soong and Barlow 2004).
Objective of the study
- To screen Persea americana seeds for the presence of some phytochemicals such as flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides etc.
- To carry out quantitative determination of some of these phytochemicals
Scope of the study
The study will cover the general description of Persea Americana, phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables and nutritional physiology of phytochemicals. The study will also cover the nutritional contents of P.americana fruit and its medicinal uses. Effects of P.americana on the body and the phytochemicals to be determined will be discussed. Qualitative and quantitative determination of some phytochemicals will also be carried out.
Significance of the study
The significance of this study is that P.americana plays a vital role in contributing to a healthy and balanced diet, reduced mental depression prevents coronary heart diseases, diabetes and prostate cancer in the body tissue and heal the scalp.
P.americana if consumed by individual can fight beriberi, cause a reduction in body weight and are used as antihypertensive drug for individuals with hypertension.