Researcher Exposes Nutritional Values of Cassava Leaves
Contrary to the phobia for the wholesale consumption of cassava leaf due to its cyanide contents, a Nutritional Biochemist has exposed the nutritional values and commercialization benefits of the hitherto wasted products.
Dr. Adeola Bankole, a Nutritional Biochemist and Food Technologist at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, gave the insight on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, while speaking on “Nutritional Insight into Cassava and its Commercialization Potentials,” at the Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University, Ota.
Bankole, who was the guest speaker at the seminar, noted that cassava leaf, which is a by-product of the root industry is largely wasted mainly for the ‘cyanide scare’ attached to it, but argued that there were numerous benefits from the nutritional attributes inherent in it.
“Cassava leaf is rich in protein (14-40% DM), mineral elements, vitamins B1, B2, C and carotenes. Nutritionally speaking, apart from the lower methionine, lysine and perhaps isoleucine content, the amino acid profile of cassava leaf protein compares favourably well with those of milk, cheese, soybeans, fish and egg,” he explained.
He, therefore, allayed the fear expressed for the consumption of cassava leaf, adding that the cyanide-scare should cease to be issues with respect to cassava leaf consumption as advances have been made to remediate the issue to a good extent. This, he said, have allowed consumers to benefit from the nutritional attributes in cassava leaf.
The guest speaker explained further that cassava leaf is an interesting material with respect to its apparent food value, both for man and his domesticated animals because of its high protein content and impressive amino acids profile, its good dietary fiber and fat content.
Bankole argued that since Nigeria is the largest grower of cassava in the world, with production quantity of 54 million tons and 27% of the total world production, it could be rightly said to be the largest producer of cassava leaves in the world. This, he said, portends great commercialization benefits for the country, which include the establishment of an industry with abundant raw materials and exportation of well processed and packaged cassava leaf products to our West-African neighbours.
He charged the participants that great entrepreneurship potentials await whoever dares to engage in the cassava leaf production business. Adding that, they would however need a lot of enthusiasm and conviction about what they want to do as well as a financial discipline among other requirements for successful entrepreneurship.
The Head, Department of Biological Sciences, Professor Adesola Ajayi, had earlier noted that the presentation would highlight some important facts needed in their research and what to do to boost the economy.