Objective: To evaluate the saponin, antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties of Blighia sapida (ackee) pods. Saponins exhibit a wide range of medicinal properties which includes anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities.
Methods: Pods from the Blighia sapida fruit were evaluated for the presence of saponins by Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectroscopy (FTIR). Methanolic extracts of the pods were also analyzed for total phenolics, antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities. Antioxidant activity was determined by the 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay and total phenolics by the Folin-Ciocalteu assay.
Results: The IR spectrum exhibited peaks which are consistent with the presence of triterpenoidal saponins. The peaks observed indicated the presence of hydroxyl (3317 cm -1), alkene (1633 cm -1) and ester (1030, 1242, 1367 cm -1)functionalities. The pods of the fruit contain high levels of antioxidant (1.81 ± 0.11 mg/g) and free radical scavenging activities (69.70 ± 1.32 %).
Conclusion: Blighia sapida pods may be an untapped source of medicinally active compounds containing antioxidant, anticancer and free radical scavenging properties.
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