African Journal of Wood Science and Forestry ISSN 2375-0979 Vol. 9 (6), pp. 001-008, June, 2021. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Physiochemical and nutritional characterization of Vitex payos (Lour.) Merr. (Verbenaceae): An indigenous fruit tree of Eastern Africa

James Munga Kimondo1*, Jacob Godfrey Agea 2, Clement Akais Okia2, Refaat Atalla Ahmed Abohassan3, Elizabeth T. N. Nghitoolwa Ndeunyema4, Dino Andrew Woiso5, Zewge Teklehaimanot6 and Jackson Mulatya1

1Kenya Forestry Research Institute, P. O. Box 20412-00200, Nairobi, Kenya.

2Department of Community Forestry and Extension, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala Uganda.

3Faculty of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture, King Abdulaziz University, P. O. Box 80208 Jeddah,

21589 Saudi Arabia.

4Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, The University of Namibia - Ogongo Campus, Private Bag 5520, Oshakati, Namibia.

5Department of Biological Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3038, Morogoro, Tanzania.

6University of Bangor, Bangor Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK.

Accepted 13 April, 2021

Abstract

In the dry areas, indigenous fruits become important staples when cereals harvested are inadequate to support populations. Farmers in these areas have identified many of the handicaps in domestication but there is still need for inputs from the food industry into identification of the desirable traits and characteristics of potentially novel food. The purpose of this study was to assess the nutrient content of one edible wild fruit, Vitex payos that has been identified as a top priority species among the inhabitants of drylands of Kenya for domestication. The proximate, minerals and vitamin content were determined. Results showed that the fruit did contain useful quantities of potassium, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin C. Besides, sodium, magnesium and calcium were also present in minute quantities.

Key words: Vitex payos, indigenous fruits, dry lands, nutrients, proximate, Kenya.