Hama-Ba F, Sibiria N, Powell B, Ickowitz A, Maundu P and Diawara B
Generation of improved data on biodiverse foods for nutrition required that nutrient composition data be paired with proper botanical identification of species. This study assessed the nutrient content of ten wild vegetable species within and outside forested area in Burkina Faso. The ten-vegetable species included: Adansonia digitata L., Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del., Boerhavia diffusa L., Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn., Cerathoteca sesamoides Endl., Crataeva religiosa Sieber, Ficus ovata Vahl, Moringa oleifera Lam., Strycnos spinosa Lam. and Vitex doniana Sweet. Additionally, the nutrient content for each of the species was compared for specimens collected within and outside forested areas. The iron levels ranged between 3.9-107.9 mg/100 g dry weight, the zinc levels from 11-22 mg/100 g dry weight, and the calcium levels from 25-4637 mg/100 g dry weight. The beta carotene levels were between 0 and 1772 μg/100 g dry weight and the protein levels between 6.6 and 26.4 g/100 g dry weight. The variation between species was often greater than the variation between sites, for a given species. However, large differences in nutrient content between collection sites were seen in many species for many nutrients. Across all species, calcium and protein tended to be higher in forested areas while zinc and iron tended to be lower and beta carotene was highly variable. We sought to better understand the impact of ecosystems services from forests on nutrient composition. Given our modest sample size and the high levels of variation in nutrient content it was difficult to draw conclusions from our results. Despite this, it is increasing clear that wild and traditional African leafy vegetables can play an important role in meeting the international recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.