Vitamin A and Lutein Levels in Dried Leaves of Moringa Oleifera

G. Ndayikeza, P. Angers


Leaves of Moringa oleifera, a tropical plant used in Burundi as food against malnutrition, is high in lutein and vitamin A. The leaves are consumed as dry powder that people store in their home at room temperature. As such, content in vitamin A and lutein may decrease over time and affect the amonts that are ingested. In order to assess such a decrease, we performed HPLC quantification of lutein and vitamin A in powdered dry leaves of Moringa oleifera over a six month period, in both young and mature leaves. Young and mature leaves were also harvested in July and August. The results show that levels in lutein and in β-carotene were generally higher in leaves harvested in July compared to those harvested in August, whereas no differences were observed for cis-β-carotene. Levels in lutein (0.66 mg/g +/- 0.29, on average)  and in cis-β-carotene (0.033 mg/g +/- 0.020, on average) decreased rapidly over the first month, with values near 0 after this period. Content in β‑carotene (0.17 mg/g +/- 0.01, on average) showed a 50% decrease during the first month, and reached nearly 0 after two months. In conclusion, dried leaves of Moringa oleifera should be consumed within the first month after they have been harvested and dried, in order to benefit from their content in lutein and in β- and cis-β-carotenes.

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