Nutrient composition of selected indigenous fruits from sub-Saharan Africa

J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Aug 30;93(11):2627-36. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6196. Epub 2013 Jun 27.


Indigenous fruits constitute an important part of human diets in many sub-Saharan African countries, particularly in rural areas and during droughts. In order to promote and expand the utilisation of these fruits, knowledge on their nutritional composition is essential. This review presents the results of a literature research of the nutritional composition of ten selected indigenous fruits from sub-Saharan Africa. Species were selected based on their current importance as well as their future potential for nutrition, processing and cash income generation. Compositional data were compiled and mean values of components per species were calculated. Most papers were compiled for Adansonia digitata (26) and Dacryodes edulis (16), followed by Tamarindus indica (ten), Balanites aegyptiaca (nine), Sclerocarya birrea (nine), Ziziphus mauritiana (nine), Vitex doniana (seven) and Irvingia gabonensis (five), and least for Uapaca kirkiana (three) and Syzygium guineense (three). Fruits were found to be mainly analysed for macronutrients and minerals. Vitamins, apart from vitamin C, were rarely reported. Substantial compositional differences were found among as well as within the different fruit species. The results of this study emphasise the need to generate more high-quality data on a wider spectrum of components of the selected indigenous fruits in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: food composition; fruits; indigenous species; sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Food Analysis*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value