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Walnut is important for the nuts and timber most of them produce and for its representative genus. Walnut comprises such families as Juglandaceae (English walnut), Euphorbiaceace, and Olacaceae. Each family has its own peculiar characteristics but they have some things in common such as the nuts. Juglandaceae is mostly found in the southeast Europe, to Japan and more widely in the New world. Tetracarpidum conophorum (family Euphorbiaceae) is found in Nigeria and Cameroon while Coula edulis (family Olacaceae) which is also referred to as Africa walnut is found in Congo, Gabon and Liberia (Wikipedia, 2008).
This report looked into the seed of Tetracarpidum conophorum (African walnut). Tetracarpium conophorum is a climbing shrub 10-20ft long and trunk up to 2m in diameter with a short trunk and crown (Caglarimark, 2003).
In Nigeria, it is widely cultivated in the rain forest belt of Nigeria and is called ukpa in (Igbo), western Nigeria as awusa or asala (Yoruba), and Northern Nigeria as gawudi bairi (Hausa). It is also known in the littoral and the western Cameroon as kaso or ngak. It is found in Uyo, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Lagos, Kogi, Ajaawa-ogbomoso and Ibadan (Dalzier, 2010). This plant is cultivated principally for the nuts which are cooked and consumed as snacks (Oke, 1995). It is contained in a pod which may house one shelled nut (single), two shelled nut (double) and three shelled nut. The walnut shells could be black or brown. The nut is whitish upon cracking from the shell. It has a thin layer in between two halves (when a nut is divided into two equal parts). A bitter taste is usually observed upon drinking water immediately after eating the nuts. This could be attributed to the presence of chemical substances known as alkaloid (Ayodele, 2011). The plant of Tetracarpium conophorum is planted under an indigenous tree that can provide strong support for a heavy weight of the climber when fully established on the crown of the tree and thereby competes for sunlight and also affects fruiting of the host tree. Therefore, trees that do not produce high economic fruits are mostly used to serve as support for the climber.
Walnuts are claimed to have a lot of economic value such as medicinal and nutritional values. These claims have not been clearly justified. This research and experiment is therefore centered on investigating, analyzing and justifying the claims made on the walnut seeds. It will also know the chemical composition responsible for the Medicinal value of the walnut seeds.
It is anticipated that the information obtained from the chemical composition and nutritional values of African walnut (Tetracarpidium conophorum) in this investigation could influence the consumption pattern and will back enormously as either new or added information, which will thereby expand the frontiers of knowledge.
The aim is to investigate the Phytochemical Screening and nutritional composition of African Walnut (Tetracarpidium conophorum).
The research objectives are as follows;