1.1 Background of the Study
Fruits are of great nutritional values. They are important sources of vitamins, which carry essential components of human diet.
Fruits are important in human diet since they contain carbohydras, proteins, as well as vitamins, minerals and trace elements (Akaneme, 2008). Regular intake of fruits is indispensable for good health, fitness and feeling of well-being. In addition, millions of people throughout the developing countries of the world were reported to have inadequate food supply or nutrient deficiencies in their diets, which led to problems due to starvation and malnutrition of various types (Tlili and Lenucci, 2011). There has been an increase in the awareness on the food value of fruits as a result of exposure to other cultures and acquiring proper food education (Amusa, et al., 2003).
Pepper (Capsicum annumm. var. bola), is one of the most varied and widely used food in the world. There are a vast number of varieties of pepper and every variety is indicated with the original language of the local cultures, which differs from town to town and from region to region. For these reasons the classification of pepper is not simple (Basher and Abu-Goukh, 2003). Nigeria is known to be one of the major producers of pepper in the world accounting for about 50% of the African production (Ureigho, 2010). The pepper grown in Nigeria is in high demand because of its pungency and good flavour (Akübugwo and Ugbogu, 2007).
Pepper is a fruit is now recognized as rich sources of antioxidants, in which vitamin A, C and Lycopene are some of the most abundant antioxidants identified in them (Arvouet—Grandet al., 2000; Badr-Sherifet al., 2011). Since the protective roles of dietary, antioxidants can’t be over-emphasized against multiple diseases such as cancer, anaemia, diabetes, carbohydrates diseases, etc. these antioxidants perform their functions by contracting the oxidizing activities of highly reactive oxygen species thereby, preventing the oxidative modification of low density protein, nucleic acids, proteins, etc. (Briviba and Sies, 2000). Therefore, there have been recent increases recorded in the demand in the consumption, particularly among the urban community. This is due to the increased awareness on the food value of fruits (e.g apple, pepper, banana, guava, pear and almond), especially as antioxidants (Amusa, et al., 2003).
Epidemiological studies indicate a strong inverse correlation between the consumption of fruits and the incidence of degenerative diseases. There is considerable evidence for the role of antioxidant constituents of fruits in the maintenance of health and prevention of diseases.
Phenolic compounds have the ability to prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) owing to their antioxidant properties, attributable to the free radical scavenging properties of their constituent’s hydroxyl groups. The inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary diseases. Among the several classes of plant phenolics, some have been reported in pear fruits: phenolic acids, flavonoids and anthocyanin (Burkill, 2003).
1.2 Classification of Fruits
Fruits are classified into three main groups:
Simple Fruits: These are fruits containing one or more carpels they take roots from a single ovary with or without accessory parts. E.g. Drupes, Nuts and Legumes.
Aggregate Fruits: These are fruits which one flower contains more than a few, divided ovaries, which fuses together as it develops. E.g. Pineapple.
Multiple Fruits: These are fruits that consist of matured ovaries of several to many flowers more or less united into a mass. Multiple fruits are almost invariably accessory fruits. E.g. Blackberry, Raspberry and Strawberry.
1.3 Aims and Objectives of Study
The aim and objective of this study was to investigate the content of vitamin C, vitamin A, phenol, flavonoids, lycopene and antioxidant properties of some fruits collected from small market, Abraka.
The sampled fruits were Banana (Musa acuminata), Pepper (Capsicum annumm), Pear (Persea americana) and Almond (Prunus dulcis).
1.4 Statement of Problem
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research will be useful in creating awareness of vitamin A, Vitamin C, phenol, flavonoids, lycopene and total antioxidant properties in fruits used as food e.g. Banana, Pepper, Pear and Almond that can inhibit the chain reaction caused by free radicals which is responsible for many diseases in human body