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Food Science and Technology (Campinas)
On-line version ISSN 1678-457X
KINUPP, Valdely Ferreira and BARROS, Ingrid Bergman Inchausti de. Protein and mineral contents of native species, potential vegetables, and fruits. Ciênc. Tecnol. Aliment. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.4, pp.846-857. ISSN 1678-457X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-20612008000400013.
The Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre (MRPA), Rio Grande do Sul state (Brazil), presents a significant richness of native vegetables and fruits with neglected nourishing potential. Beyond the ethnological indicatives on their uses as food, little is known on these vegetables and fruits, mainly regard to the bromatological composition. Studies reveal that the unconventional food plants are nutritionally richer than domesticated plants. In the aim to evaluate the nourishing potential of the native plants in the MRPA region and to contribute with data on their protein and mineral contents, 69 species distributed in 58 genus and 33 botanical families were selected to the study, totalizing 76 analyses of different edible portions. Besides the N converted in protein, the contents of Ca, Mg, Mn, P, Fe, Na, K, Cu, Zn, S, and B were analyzed. Several species revealed promising contents of protein and minerals with higher values than commercial species with similar uses. Despite of their suitability and abundance in the MRPA region and the significant contents of protein and minerals, the great majority of these species remain unknown or underutilized. Studies and effective incentives to the economical uses of the neglected species could contribute to the conservation, valorization of the indigenous species, and to a more diverse and healthful human diet.
Keywords : Macronutrients; micronutrients; trace elements; food supplement; potential crops; edible wild plants.