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PROJECT TOPIC: EXTRACTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF WHITE MUCUNA PRURIENS VAR. UTILIS SEED OIL

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0    PREAMBLE

1.1    INTRODUCTION

In our world today, the geometric increase of the population has raised alarming concerns on the food security to sustain the teeming population (Sridhar, 2007). The worse hit is developing countries in Africa, especially Nigeria that still lacks the capacity to manage food production tasks arising from the current global warming and other environmental changes. The few food products usually lack adequate proteins, essential fatty acids and vitamins leading to the common form of malnutrition in individuals.

Interestingly, unconventional legumes are promising in terms of nutrition, provisions of food security, agricultural development and in crop rotation in developing countries (Sridhar, 2007). The wild legume varieties have different quantities of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, lipid/fatty acids and minerals.

Mucuna pruriens var.utilis is a tropical legume of the family Fabaceae and genus Mucuna. Some of its common names are Agbara (Igbo), Yerepe (Yoruba), Mauritius bean, cow itch, cow hage, Jackbohne (German). Velvet bean is an annual perennial, herbaceous, vigorous climbing vine that growso 3-18cm in height. It is indigenous of the tropical regions especially Africa, India and the West Indies. Its pods are sigmoid, turgid, longitudinally ribbed and always clustered on the stem and the pods are covered with reddish-orange hairs that dislodge readily causing intense irritation on the skin. The pods contain seeds that are black or white (Siddhuraju, 2000; Leslie, 2005; Sridhar, 2007).


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