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Physicochemical Properties and Juvenile Phenology of African Walnut (Plukenetia Conophorum Muell Arg) Accessions from Southeastern Nigeria

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Physicochemical Properties and Juvenile Phenology of African Walnut (Plukenetia Conophorum Muell Arg) Accessions from Southeastern Nigeria.


African walnut (Plukenetia conophorum Muell Arg) is a member of  the  family  Euphorbiaceae. It is cultivated principally for the nuts which are eaten  raw  or  served  as snacks after roasting or boiling. P. conophorum serves many nutritional and  medicinal purposes as well as good source of rural income.

Despite the potentials of this plant, its existence is threatened by deforestation, urbanization and similar activities. The present study was designed in an attempt to salvage this useful plant from  extinction and  provide basis  for its conservation. Four accessions of P. Conophorum were collected from Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Rivers states, southeastern Nigeria.

The objectives of the  research  were  to  evaluate the effects of three manure rates on juvenile growth stage of the  accessions;  determine the amino acid profile of the kernels and  investigate possible  bio-diversity among the accessions with respect to the seed physical traits and proximate  components.

Four  specific experiments were conducted to achieve the set objectives. Seed physical traits (edible portion, pulp weight, seed volume, seed weight, pulp (kernel) weight, seed circumference and seed coat thickness) were measured. Standard laboratory procedures were employed in determining the proximate composition (moisture content, ash, fat, crude protein, fibre and carbohydrates) and amino acids profile of raw and boiled kernels.

A pot  experiment was  set  up to evaluate the seedling emergence and growth responses to three level of pig manure applications (0, 5. and 10t/ha). Data were collected on days  to  seedling  emergence,  emergence percentage, vine length, vine base girth, number of leaves per plant, number of branches,  root  volume and dry matter  yield and  partitioning to the leaves, stem and roots.


Title page – – – – — – – – – i
Dedication – – – – – – – – – – ii
Certification – – – – – – – – – – iii
Acknowledgments – – – – – – – – – iv
Table of contents – – — – – – – – – v
List of tables – – – – – – – – – – vi
List of figures – – – – – – – – – viii
Abstract — – – – – – – – – – ix
INTRODUCTION – – – – – – – – 1
LITERATURE REVIEW – – – – – – – – 3
Materials – – – – – – – – – – 6
Methods – – – – – – – – – – 6
Statistical Analysis – – – – – – – – – 14
RESULTS – – – – – – — – – – 15
Discussion — – – – – – – – – – 47
Conclusion and recommendation – – – – – – – 52
REFERENCES – – — — – – – – – 53


African Walnut (Plukenetia conophorum Muell Arg) is a member of the  family  Euphorbiaceae. It has been described as a semi-wild plant found naturally  in  the  wild (Okigbo, 1977), or may be extensively encountered in rural dwelling and in farmlands where they are protected.

Walnut (P. conophorum) is of African origin (Nwosu, 1979); hence “African” mostly attached to its common name. It is cultivated principally for the fruits (nuts) which is edible and are eaten alone or served as snacks with kola  nut when boiled.

Egharevba et al., 2005 also reported that the fruit is known in other African countries like Gabon, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Madagascar and Central African Republic,  where  it  provides  income to  the rural people consequently improving their economy and nutrition.

Conophorum is a twining vine, and rarely sprawling herb, found in tropical wet and seasonally dry forest regions (Gillespie, 1993). The seeds are available in June-September when other fruits are scarce, throughout the southern states of Nigeria (Egharevba et  al., 2005).

As documented by Irvine (1990), the plant which is a perennial is also a climber requiring support of woody sticks to climb, grow and survive. The plant starts flowering between eighteen to twenty four months after planting. The importance of P.  conophorum as  an indigenous fruit climber is enormous as it is a multi-purpose crop.

In most homes in southeastern Nigeria the fruits provide income to rural people, thereby improving their economy. The roots, leaves and seeds are said to have  medicinal  values  (Johansen,  1950). The high nutrient potentials of the nut has been reported  in  literatures  (Oke  and  Funsho, 1975; Ogunsua and Adebona, 1983).


Abdel-Hamid, Y.A., (1983). Effect of cooking on tryptophan, basic amino acids, protein solubility and retention of some vitamins in two varieties of chick pea “Food Chemistry”.

Adebona, M.B., Ogunsua, A.O and Ologunde, M.O. (1988). Development of conophor nut- based cereal snack foods 1-biscuits. Journal of  the  Science of Food  and  Agriculture 2: 123-126

Adesioye, H.O., (1991). The effect of processing and storage on the Chemical and sensory quality of conophor nut. Nigerian Food Journal 9: 33-38.

Adeyeye, E.I., (2000). Effect of cooking and Roasting of the  Amino  Acid  composition  of Raw Groundnut (Arachis Hypogaea) seeds. Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 9 (2), 201-216

Ajaiyeoba, E.O. and Fadare D.A. (2006). “Antimicrobial potential of extracts and fractions of the African walnut- Tetracarpiduim conophorum”. African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol 5, no 22, pp 2322-2325.

Akindahunsi, A.A. and Salawu S.O. (2005), Photochemical screening and nutrient –anti- nutrient composition of selected tropical green vegetables. Afr. BioTech. 4: 497-501.

Alireza, S.M and Bhagya, S. (2009). Effect of Recovery method on different property, of mustard protein. World Journal of Dairy and Food Science 4: 100-106

Ani, J.U. and Baiyeri K.P. (2008). Impact of poultry manure and harvest season on  juice quality of yellow passion fruit (Passiflora edulis var Flavicarpa Deg.) in  the  sub- humid zone of Nigeria. Fruits 63: 239-247.

CSN Team.

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