Assessment of Phenological Variability and Nutritional Value of the Underutilize Tropical Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus’ Frost. in Nigeria
Journal of Advances in Biology & Biotechnology,
Aims: To assess the phenological variability that can help farmers identify Jackfruits and create awareness on the nutritional values of the underutilized tropical Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus in Nigeria.
Study Design: The study was a survey and assessment of Jackfruits growing in situ in forest and home gardens where jackfruits ecotypes were identified growing wild under farmers’ field conditions.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in Cross River State, Nigeria for two seasons of 2013-2014. Collected fruit samples were analysed for mineral and nutritional compositions in the National Root Crop Research Institute laboratory Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria.
Methodology: Mature Jackfruit from Yala ecotype was carefully harvested from farmers field and taken to the National Root Crops Research Institute laboratory, Umudike Abia State for proximate (mineral and nutrient) composition analysis adopting the modified A.O.A.C methods of 2006. Data for phenological variability was obtained through measurements of leaf area (cm²), leaf length (cm), seed length (cm), 100 seed weight (kg), seed chamber length (cm), seed chamber width (cm), number of seeds per pod, stem diameter (cm), fruit width (cm), fruit weight (kg) and fruit chamber length (cm). Ecotypes location coordinates were read using GPS Etrex model. Qualitative data were taken through observations, photographs, interview of local farmers. Qualitative attributes, like unripe fruit colour, mature fruit colour, seed shape, seed colour, seed size, pulp colour, fruit shape and fruit skin texture were compared with the Royal horticultural colour chart. Generated data were collated and analysed using appropriate statistical tools.
Results: The bread of the tropics fruit was found to be rich in B-complex vitamins and contains very good amounts of vitamin B – 6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. The result also shows that the fruit contains high starch, protein, minerals and nutrients especially, vitamins: C, E, K, potassium and sodium. Jackfruit is a good source of antioxidants vitamin C, provides about 13.7mg vitamin C which helps the body to develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. Results of phenological variability obtained from analysis of quantitative attributes revealed some significance (p<0.05) differences among the ecotypes studied for traits such as Fruit chamber length, Fruit weight, Fruit diameter, Seed per fruit and leaf length, while phenotypic traits such as 100 seed weight, seed length, seed diameter, Leaf area and Seed chamber length did not differ (p>0.05) among the ecotypes. The fruit pod weighs between 3 – 40 kg, fruits may be oblong or globular in shape, reaching 25 – 75 cm in diameter, containing between 50 – 500 edible seeds measuring 2 – 4 cm in length and 1 – 3 cm in diameter.
Conclusion: The fruit can be used for the supplementation of food nutrients in human nutrition. In this agro-ecology, the fruit lacks market value because of ignorance and its unpopularity. Hence, this paper provides an insight into the phenological variations among the local ecotypes for which it can be easily identified, revealed the ecological relevance of Jackfruit trees and creates awareness on the nutritional values of this underutilized Jackfruit.