Nutritional and clinical studies of non-conventional leaf protein sources on albino rats

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The leaves of E. hirta (kaka wie adwe), I. involucrata(Iehowa dua), L. taxaracifolia(Wild lettuce) and X. saggittifolium(Kontomire) were analyzed to determined their chemical composition and were used to feed animals to determine their nutritional attributes as well as their possible effects on the rats. The leaves were heat-treated and used to formulate the test diets at levels of 5, 8 and 10% protein levels. Equivalent diets containing of casein served as the controls. The Chemical studies on the leaves revealed that they are good amounts of protein, fibre, and mineral ion. High levels of oxalate, phytate, tannins, alkaloids and saponins which could greatly affect the nutritive quality of the leaf protein were found. The amino acid scores showed the leaf protein to be deficient in more than one amino acid mostly methionine and lysine.”Kaka wie adwe” , wild lettuce and Kontomire leaf proteins had methionine as the first limiting amino acid while lysine was the first limiting amino acid in lehowa dua. The animals maintained on” Kaka wie adwe” and Iehowa dua leaf protein diets gave negative F.E.R and P.E.R but animals on wild lettuce and kontomire protein diets gave positive F.E.R. and P.E.R. All the leaves are potential antihypertensinogenic agents on the basis of the relatively low Na : K ratio of 0.073 (lehowa dua), 0.056 (wild lettuce) and 0.050 (kontomire) and have hypocholesterolemic abilities especially the wild lettuce. The total lipids were lower in the serum, heart and kidney but slightly higher in the liver of all the animals fed with the leaf protein diets. The animals on the leaf proteins maintained comparable haematalogical picture as the control diets. The haemoglobin levels, RBC and WBC counts were comparable with those of the control diets. Methionine supplementation, however, improved the Red blood cell( RBC) and Haemoglobin( Hb) content of animals on “Kaka wie adwe”, lehowa dua and wild lettuce. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was high in all animals fed with the leaf protein diets except those maintained on Kontomire and unsupplemented lpomoea protein diets. The activity of Aspartate transaxninase(AST) was not much influenced by any of the leaf proteins while Alanine transaminase(ALT) activity was greatly raised especially in those animal fed with “Kaka wie adwe”, unsupplemented lehowa dua and kontomire protein diets. The histopathological studies did not reveal any adverse pathological alterations in any of the animals fed with the leaf protein diets, however, occasional incidence of fatty infiltration of the hepatocytes, congestion, granulomas and hyperemia were observed in a few instances.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry, College of Science in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science, 1993