oa Central African Journal of Medicine - The baobab tree: A good source of ascorbic acid

Volume 4, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



No correlation between moisture, weight and ascorbic acid content of the pulp of normal ripe baobab fruit could be detected, but the unripe fruit does not show any ascorbic acid content until the moisture of the pulp drops below 75 per cent. An average ripe pulp wilt have an ascorbic acid content of about 350 mg./100 g., which will remain remarkably stable for many months if protected from increased moisture content. Even if no precautions are taken, appreciable quantities of the vitamin will remain in the pulp for many years. The pulp showed no signs of bacterial or fungal decomposition after two years' storage in a glass bottle. Some seasonal difference in the ascorbic acid content of the pulp was detected, but it appeared to be small. The baobab leaf was also shown to be a good source of ascorbic add, but a relish prepared from the leaves showed 110 reduced ascorbic acid; however, no assay for dehydroascorbic acid was undertaken, and the presence of cooking soda may have produced this form of the vitamin. Obviously the baobab is an important antiscorbutic for the lowveld African, and is undoubtedly an important factor in the comparatively low incidence of scurvy in these areas. It is made more valuable in the way it can be regarded as a storehouse of the vitamin due 10 the remarkable stability of the vitamin in the pulp.

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