Nutritional evaluation of some potential wild edible plants of North Eastern region of India.Front Nutr. 2023; 10:1052086.FN
India's north-eastern hill region (NEH) is one of the biodiversity hotspots, inhabited by several tribal communities still maintaining their traditional food habits. Much of their food resources are drawn from wild sources.
Materials and methods
Fourteen species of wild edible plants of high ethnic importance were collected from remote localities of Nagaland and Meghalaya states of the NEH region of India for nutritional profiling. Nutritional profiling of leaves of six species comprising Gynura cusimbua, Garcinia cowa, Herpetospermum operculatum, Plukenetia corniculata, Trichodesma khasianum, and Elatostemma sessile is conducted first time under present study. Samples were analyzed as per the Official Method of Analysis (AOAC) and standard methods.
Results and discussion
The range of variation in proximate composition was observed for moisture (72-92%), protein (1.71-6.66%), fat (0.22-1.36%), dietary fibre (5.16-14.58%), sugar (0.30-3.41%), and starch (0.07-2.14%). The highest protein content (6.66%) was recorded in Herpetospermum operculatum, followed by Trichodesma khasianum (5.89%) and Plukenetia corniculata (5.27%). Incidentally, two of these also have high iron (>7.0 mg/100 g) and high zinc (>2.0 mg/100 g) contents, except Trichodesma khasianum, which has low zinc content. High antioxidant activities in terms of gallic acid equivalent (GAE) by the cupric ion reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) method ranged from 1.10 to 8.40 mg/100 g, and by the Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) method ranged from 0.10 to 1.9 mg/100 g, while phenol content ranged between 0.30 and 6.00 mg/100 g. These wild vegetables have high potential because of their nutritional properties and are fully capable of enhancing sustainability and improving ecosystem services. Efforts were also initiated to mainstream these resources, mainly for widening the food basket of native peoples.