Nutritional prospects of jackfruit and its potential for improving dietary diversity in Uganda
Nantongo, Judith S.
Odoi, Juventine B.
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A sustainable way of providing essential nutrients from crops for the poor and undernourished is biofortification, through plant breeding. This study characterised the intraspecific variation of selected nutritional elements in the flakes and seeds of Ugandan jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) plus the phytochemical composition of leaves. The overall aim was to explore possibilities of selecting for varieties that are higher in selected essential nutrients. Selecting for nutrient dense crops has been mostly done for annual agricultural crops, and rarely for perennial fruit trees. Results: Uganda’s Jackfruit has high macronutrients, especially magnesium and calcium. This study revealed that the amounts of these macronutrients were higher than those found in commonly consumed fruits, giving jackfruit a nutritional advantage with respect to these nutrients. The varieties sampled also differed significantly (p < 0.01) for some nutrients such as vitamin C, crude fat, crude fibre, total soluble solids and juice yield, highlighting the potential for selection for targeted nutritional gains. The seeds however, had less amounts of most of the quantified nutrients that also differed among the varieties. Significant intraspecific variation of the leaf total phenolics was also observed. With regard to the quantified nutritional elements in the flakes, the ethno-varieties were separated in space along PC1 (p < 0.001), PC2 (p < 0.001) and PC3 (p < 0.01) indicating their distinctness.