Improving Phytonutrient Constituents in the Leaf of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Tree Spinach) Through Soil Amendment with Craseonycteris thonglongyai Dung

Generally, leafy vegetables form an integral part of our diets as they are among the major sources of phytonutrients and mineral elements required for development, maintenance of good health and prevention of degenerative diseases. The concentrations of these nutrients in vegetables depend on the physical and chemical properties of the soil where they were grown. It is for this reason that pot experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of graded levels of Craseonycteris thonglongyai dung on the concentrations of some phytotonutrients in the leaves of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius. The different levels of C. thonglongyai dung used were control (0 g), 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 g per 20 kg soil. The leaves of C. aconitifolius were harvested at vegetative phase and subjected to standard analytical methods. The concentrations of ascorbic acid, was evaluated with titrimetric method, while concentrations of β-carotene, carotenoid, lycopene, chlorophyll, tocopherol were determined using spectrophotometric method. The concentration of tocopherol was not detected in the leaves of C. aconitifolius treated with different levels of C. thonglongyai dung. While moderate application of the dung significantly (p < 0.05) elevated the concentrations of carotenoid, β-carotene, ascorbic acid, chlorophyll and lycopene in the vegetable, the application of higher concentration of the dung particularly from 75 to 125 g per 20 kg soil decreased the concentrations of these phytonutrients significantly (p < 0.05). The study concludes that moderate application of C. thonglongyai dung particularly that of 50 g per 20 kg soil improves the nutritional quality of C. aconitifolius, as this quantity of the dung increased the bioaccumulations of the phytonutrients evaluated.

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