Nutritional and hematological benefits of sub-chronic feeding of processed Icacina senegalensis tuber flours in experimental animals


Esien David-Oku, Oluwatosin Elizabeth Ntaji, Roseline Okokon Edide, Juliet Ifeoma Obiajunwa-Otteh, Godwin Christian Akuodor

Objective: Icacina senegalensis tuber is eaten during famine in some parts of Nigeria. We investigated the nutritional and hematological benefits of consuming this tuber flours. Method: The tuber was processed by fermenting in water at room temperature (1:3 w/v), for 3 days, thereafter rinsed in clean water and divided into two portions. The first portion was oven dried at 40°C for 48 hours and blended into flour [soaked-dried (SD)]; the second was further boiled in water (1:3, w/v) for 1 hour, strained, oven dried at 40°C for 48 hours and blended into flour [soaked-boiled-dried (SB)]. Six diets containing 10%, 20%, and 30% of these two flours were formulated with normal rat chow (SD10, SD20, and SD30; SB10, SB20, and SB30). Forty-two young Wister rats were divided into seven groups (n = 6). Group 1 was fed with normal rat chow whereas groups 2–7 were fed with the respective formulated diets, for 30 days. Body weight of the animals was taken before and at the end of the feeding experiment. The animals were sacrificed; serum and whole blood samples obtained for biochemical and hematological analyses respectively, using standard methods. Results: Average body weight of SD groups increased (9–31 g) whereas that of SB groups reduced (−10 to −14 g). There were significant improvements (p < 0.05) in blood glucose and total protein concentrations in all the test groups. Also, there were improvements (non significant) in red blood cell (RBC) counts and RBC indices; whereas the Platelet and white blood cell count decreased significantly (p < 0.05) in all experimental diet groups compared to the control group. Conclusion: Icacina senegalensis tuber flours processed by fermentation and a combination of fermentation and boiling, improved the nutritional status and RBC indices of Wister rat. Further investigations are needed to confirm the safety of the flours in mammalian systems.