EFFECT OF PROCESSING METHODS ON THE PROXIMATE AND PHYTOCHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF MORINGA OLEIFERA (LAMARCK, 1785) LEAVES
Due to the presence of active phytochemical metabolites, Moringa oleifera a fast-growing deciduous plant provides protein, vitamins, and amino acids that enhance growth and treat illnesses. The aim of the study was to compare the proximate and phytochemical composition of Moringa oleifera leaves after air and sun drying. The leaves were sourced from Millennium City, Kaduna, Nigeria and sent to Kaduna State University's Biological Sciences Department for identification and authentication. A specimen number; KASU/BSH/754, was assigned and recorded. The leaves were divided into two groups and treated to air drying and sun drying after being cleaned in water to remove dust. The leaves were kept in a well-ventilated room at a temperature of 25±2oC for six days. Leaves were also exposed to direct sunshine for 3days. With a mortar and pestle, the treated leaves were pulverized before being analyzed for proximate and phytochemical components using standard techniques. The proximate analysis was evaluated using a method developed by the Association of Analytical Chemist. The proximate analysis of air dried leaves recorded 6.58±0.32 moisture content, 12.09±0.44 ash content, 24.5±0.62 crude protein, 8.70±0.35 crude lipid, 12.5±0.60 crude fibre and 35.7±2.45 carbohydrate. While sundried leaves produced 7.59±0.33 moisture content, 13.76±0.86 ash content, 24.4±0.13 crude protein, 8.98±0.18 crude lipid, 10.7±0.49 crude fibre and 34.6±0.65 carbohydrate. The qualitative analysis of the phytochemical constituents shows that there is high concentration of phytosterol, alkaloid and saponin, moderate concentration of flavonoid and low concentration of tannin for air dried leaves. While sundried leaves produced high concentration of only alkaloid and flavonoid. And low concentration of phytosterol, saponin and tannin. Statistical analysis shows that air drying is the most suitable method of processing Moringa oleifera leaves.