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Nutritional and antimicrobial evaluation of Saccharum officinarum consumed in Calabar, Nigeria

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) stem pulp is widely consumed in Nigeria as a snack mainly for sugar content and is believed to possess some remedy against infectious diseases. This study therefore quantitatively evaluated the nutritional and chemical composition of the sugarcane stem pulp with a view to validating this claim. The results of proximate composition indicate relatively high amount of moisture (71.91 ± 0.05%) and a low level of dry matter (28.09%) consisting of carbohydrate (58.55 ± 0.04 g/100 g), fibre (29.88 g/100 g), ash (6.69 g/100 g) and some mineral elements, implying an active role in nutrient supplementation. Generous amounts of phytochemical compounds such as alkaloids (8.07 ± 0.04 µg/100 g), saponins (5.57 ± 0.01 µg/100 g) and flavonoids (1.52 ± 0.02 µg/100 g); and mineral elements including magnesium (1.596 mg/100 g), potassium (0.639 mg/100 g), calcium (0.318 mg/100 g) and others in trace amounts were also obtained. Antimicrobial results revealed that the sugarcane extract showed the highest growth inhibition against Staphylococcus aureus (8.67 - 24.00 mm) among the bacterial isolates and C. albicans (6.00 – 14.00 mm) for the fungal isolates studied. Data from the study suggest that sugarcane stem pulp could be suitable for use in rehydration and as a functional food plant. Also, the plant possesses some antimicrobial qualities which could be beneficial to both pharmaceutical and food industries

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