African nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a green, indigenous leafy vegetable that grows in many parts of the world and its utilization can deliver significant nutrients and phytochemicals into the diet. It is among the indigenous vegetables popularized in Kenya though it is still underutilized. The vegetable has potential of alleviating the burden of hidden hunger which weighs heavily on the nation. Further, only the leafy part is utilized whereas the plant has edible berries. This study sought to address the problem of underutilization by looking at the benefits that can be derived from the berries. Four varieties of the plant were cultivated at the University of Eldoret research field using a Completely Randomized design (CRD). Harvesting of berries began once the first fruits started ripening and harvesting was done periodically till all the fruits were picked. Chemical analyses of the berries were done to determine the content and changes in macro and micro-nutrients and the phytochemical content of the berries as they ripened. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significance of S. nigrum varieties at different ripening stages for fruit nutrient and phytochemical composition. Tukey’s means separation procedure was used to test for significance of differences. The findings indicate high macro- and micro- nutrient content that is comparable to other berries and fruits. Hence the berries should be incorporated into diets so as to alleviate nutrient deficincies.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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