Vitamin C from the baobab
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CTA. 1996. Vitamin C from the baobab. Spore 64. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47381
The baobab tree is widely distributed throughout the semi-arid areas of sub-Saharan Africa. It is a tree with many uses: the barkand rind are used for cord fibres and fuel, the young leaves are used in sauces and the powdery pulp of the fruit...
The baobab tree is widely distributed throughout the semi-arid areas of sub-Saharan Africa. It is a tree with many uses: the bark and rind are used for cord fibres and fuel, the young leaves are used in sauces and the powdery pulp of the fruit capsules is used as flavouring in drinks. Researchers have found that the fruit pulp has a high content of vitamin C. Vitamin C, (ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant and is extremely important ill human nutrition. It enhances immunity against many tropical diseases, lowers the incidence of cataract development and coronary disease, and is related to low blood pressure. Because of its beneficial effects, it has become a major nutritional supplement with several thousand tonnes of the vitamin produced synthetically each year, in addition to its availability from natural sources. Vitamin C can be adversely affected by moisture during storage or by heat during food preparation. However, in West Africa current traditional storage and food preparation methods with baobab powder are very favourable no the preservation of the vitamin. The daily recommended intake for healthy, non-smoking adults is 65mg of vitamin C: smokers need more and convalescents recovering from infectious diseases, and nursing mothers, benefit significantly from intake exceeding 250mg. The daily rec ommended dose of vitamin C eel be obtained from 23g of baobab powder. Studies in Mali reveal the there can be a 3-fold difference in concentrations of vitamin C in baobab trees; therefore there i good potential for selecthng tree and clones with a high vitamin C content. Whilst there is plenty of room for improvement through tree selection, the average vitamin C content of more than 2500 mg per kilogramme is already very high. Education on the nutrition al value and use of baobab fruit could raise nutritional standard and also stimulate the market availability and trade of baobab powder. Agroforestry today April-June 1996 ICRAF PO Box 30677 Noirobi KENYA