Volume 193, 15 February 2016, Pages 154–159
10th International Food Data Conference (IFDC): Joining nutrition, agriculture and food safety through food composition


The challenges of lost biodiversity and consequences of low fruit consumption.
Energy and proximate composition two varieties of Monkey kola.
Mineral and vitamin composition of the fruit.
Phytochemical composition of Monkey kola.
Health implications of the constituents of Monkey kola.


The nutrient and phytochemical composition of two varieties of Monkey kola: Cola parchycarpa and Cola lepidota were determined. The pulps were extracted, grated and dried using solar dryer. Dried pulps were milled into flour with attrition milling machine (0.5 mm sieve size). The nutrient compositions were determined using standard AOAC methods. Gravimetric and spectrophotometric methods were used for phytochemical determinations. There were significant (p < 0.05) differences in the proximate and some mineral and vitamin composition of the two varieties. Most abundant minerals were calcium (195–199 mg for C. parchycarpa), potassium (204–209 mg/100 g for C. lepidota) and β-carotene (2755–5028 μg/100 g for C. parchycarpa). Calcium:phosphorus and sodium:potassium ratios were adequate (>1.0 and ⩽0.06, respectively). Monkey kola had substantial amounts of iron, zinc, and copper; the B-vitamins and vitamin C. The phytochemical contents were quiet high, the most abundant being flavonoids (415–494 mg/100 g). Monkey kola is a fruit that should be fully exploited for its potential health benefits.


  • Monkey kola;
  • Cola parchycarpa;
  • Cola lepidota;
  • Nutrients;
  • Phytochemicals;
  • Underutilized fruit

1. Introduction

Fruits, including vegetables are indispensible part of human diet. They provide a diversified flavoured, colourful, tasty, low caloric and protective, micronutrient rich diet (Sachdeva, Sachdeva, & Sachdeva, 2013). The protective effect is mediated probably through the action of antioxidants and micronutrients, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and folic acid, as well as dietary fibre (WHO, 2003), which are abundant in fruits and vegetables. Low fruit and vegetable consumption is ranked as the 6th main risk factor for mortality in the world (WHO, 2009). The worldwide mortality currently attributable to inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetable is estimated to be up to 2.6 million deaths per year (Lock, Pomerleau, Causer, Altman, & McKee, 2005). Low fruit and vegetable intake are among the risk factors contributing about 75% of cardiovascular disease (Waxman, 2003). High intake of fruits and vegetables were associated with reduced incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease (Pomerleau et al., 2006 and Van’t Veer et al., 2000).
Unfortunately, it has been shown that globally, majority of people consistently consume less than the daily recommended fruit and vegetable requirement. Hall, Moore, Harper, & Lynch (2009) found that 77.6% of men and 78.4% of women from 52 mainly low- and middle-income countries consumed less that minimum recommended five daily serving of fruits and vegetables. This may account for the high prevalence of malnutrition, particularly micronutrient deficiencies and the increasing prevalence of diet related non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries. The lack of good database and poor knowledge of the nutrient composition and quality of traditional food crops are some of the reasons for low fruit and vegetable consumption in developing countries (Grivetti & Ogle, 2000).
It is common knowledge that in Nigeria a number of indigenous plant foods have been abandoned and are becoming extinct. According to Joshi & Joshi (2005) the vast store of information on indigenous knowledge, practises and technologies is being eroded as a result of rapid urbanisation, over-exploitation of resources, unscientific land use, change in lifestyle and behaviour. Most have not been identified and evaluated for their nutritional and functional properties and therefore are underexploited. One of such plant food is the Monkey Kola.
Monkey kola belong to the family Sterculiaceae; and genus Cola. It is made up of three varieties: red (Cola latertia), yellow (Cola parchycarpa), white (Cola lepidota) ( Singh et al., 2010 and Ogbu et al., 2010). The pod of the yellow variety is roundish, while the white variety is more cylindrical (Fig. 1). Monkey kola is identified by various local names in South-eastern Nigeria (“achicha” or “Ochiricha” in Igbo and “ndiyah” in Efik) (Personal communication). It is commonly found in Southern Nigeria between the months of June to November (Ogbu, Essien & Kadurumba, 2007). The matured pulp is crispy and tastes sweet and is cherished by young children and adults. The pod size varies between 25 g to 150 g (Ogbu, Essien & Kadurumba, 2007). The Monkey kola tree can be found in the forest or wild as well as homesteads. A more detailed description of Monkey kola is given by Keay, Onochie, & Stanfield (1964). Research and information on this highly cherished fruit is very scanty. It is therefore the objective of this study to determine the nutrient and phytochemical compositions of two common varieties of Monkey kola.
Pictorial image of the Cola parchycarpa (yellow) and Cola lepidota (white) ...
Fig. 1. 
Pictorial image of the Cola parchycarpa (yellow) and Cola lepidota (white) varieties.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. Source of materials and identification

Monkey kola (C. parchycarpa and C. lepidota) was identified botanically in the Department of Forestry, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria. The yellow and white varieties were collected from the major markets in Calabar (in the South-south zone) and Umuahia (in the South-east zone). Samples were purchased from at least five randomly selected vendors in the various markets and pooled to obtain the samples for analysis. The two varieties under investigation are shown in Fig. 1.