Journal of Earth, Environment and Health Sciences

: 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38--41

Evaluation of Mineral Content in some Native Iranian Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graceum L.) Genotypes

Hossein Ali Asadi Gharneh, Saeid Davodalhosseini 
 Department of Horticulture, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Hossein Ali Asadi Gharneh
Department of Horticulture, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is an annual herb is used as potherbs and spice or as herbal medicine. It is grown widely all over Iran, and its young leaves are used as fresh green as well as sun-dried for later use. In this study, seven fenugreek genotypes were planted according to randomized complete block design with three replicates. Several traits including ash, moisture content and some mineral content (P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu) were measured. Results showed relatively considerable differences among studied genotypes. The levels of the Ca were ranged from 200.66 to 455.25 mg/100 g of fresh weight (gfw) while the levels of the P were ranged from 182 to 250 mg/100 gfw. The Gaz genotype had the highest content of Na and Fe while the highest content of Mg and Mn were observed in genotype Kashan (370.1 and 0.87 mg/100 gfw, respectively). The observed Ca/P ratio of Iranian fenugreek genotypes which is ranged from 0.80 to 2.0 is relatively an ideal content from a nutritional aspect. The highest Zn and Cu contents were identified in genotype Ardestan (4.1 and 2.5 mg/100 gfw, respectively). The observed difference in the nutrient composition of fenugreek genotypes corresponded to the relatively high genetic diversity found within the genotypes, which are useful for selecting specific genotypes for special purposes in breeding programs. Furthermore, some of the above genotypes could be used directly as commercial cultivars for fenugreek producers.

How to cite this article:
Gharneh HA, Davodalhosseini S. Evaluation of Mineral Content in some Native Iranian Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graceum L.) Genotypes.J Earth Environ Health Sci 2015;1:38-41

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Gharneh HA, Davodalhosseini S. Evaluation of Mineral Content in some Native Iranian Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graceum L.) Genotypes. J Earth Environ Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Sep 25 ];1:38-41
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Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is an annual herb belonging to the legume family. It is used as a vegetable and for other purposes (such as herbal medicine) in many parts of the world. [1] It has a long history as both a culinary and medicinal herb in the ancient world. [2] The tender green leaves of fenugreek are consumed as a vegetable while the seed are used as spice. [3] Fenugreek originated from the Mediterranean areas and is widely cultivated in Asia and Africa and occasionally in Europe. Although it is native to the Eastern Mediterranean, it is today found all over Asia, from the Mediterranean to China. Fenugreek is becoming popular around the world with its extract used to flavor cheese, artificial maple syrup, bitter-run, insect and pest repellent in grain storage, and oil used in perfumery in European countries. [4]

The leaves and seeds of fenugreek are consumed in different countries around the world for different medicinal purposes such as anti-diabetic, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol level. Furthermore, it is used in making food flavor cheese in Switzerland, syrup and bitter-run in Germany, stew with rice in Iran and mixed seed powder with flour for making flat bread in Egypt. [5] Macro and microelements influence biochemical processes in the human organism. [6] Minerals are also an important part of a balanced diet. The minerals or micronutrients perform various essential roles in the body. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the diet must include the recommended dietary allowance of the micronutrients. [7]

Fenugreek leaves are rich in Mg, [8] , Ca and Fe [9] and significantly improves the total iron in a cereal meal. [10] The human body requires a number of minerals in order to maintain good health. A number of minerals essential to human nutrition are accumulated in different parts of plants as it accumulates minerals essential for growth from the environment. [11] Due to the lack of information about the chemical composition of Iranian fenugreek genotypes, this study was conducted to determine some macro and micro nutrients properties of seven common Iranian fenugreek genotypes.

 Material and Methods

Seeds of seven Iranian fenugreek genotypes including Mobarake, Shahreza, Gaz, Ardestan, Khansar, Kashan and Ahwaz were collected from different geographical regions in Iran [Table 1] and planted on 14 March 2013 in the experimental field and harvested on 2 June 2013 at Isfahan (32°38′N and 51°39′E), Iran.{Table 1}

The trail was arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Before planting, farmyard manure fertilizer was applied at the rate of 3 kg m−2 . The soil was a clay loam with EC and pH of 1.4 ds/m and 7.3, respectively. The soil was mechanically prepared by plowing (30 cm deep), disking, and leveling. Five rows were planted in a plot with a spacing of 30 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants. Irrigation was twice weekly using flooding and weeding was done manually once weekly. There was no incidence of pest or diseases on plants during the experiment. Plants were harvested from three center rows of each plot. Fifteen plants from each plot were taken randomly for analysis. Fresh leaf samples were used for the determination of moisture content according to Association Official Analytical Chemist [12] protocol.

The obtained plant samples were dried at 70°C to dry until they reached a constant weight. The dried samples were ground and placed into ceramic vessels and combusted in a muffle furnace at 550°C for 8 h. Minerals nutrients namely calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentration in the investigated samples were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (model 3400, Perkin Elmer, Wellesley, Mass). Samples of fresh fenugreek leaves were digested by dry-ashing and dissolved in 1 M HCl. After a clear solution was obtained, the solution was filtered through Whatman No. 42 and finally made up to 50 ml with double-distilled water and stored in clean polyethylene bottles. [13] Potassium (K) and sodium (Na) were determined in the emission mode of the spectrometer. The concentration of phosphorus (P) was measured using a spectrophotometric method. [14] All analyses were carried out in triplicates and expressed on a fresh weight basis. Data were subjected to analysis of variance using MSTATC software (version 1.2, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI). The comparison of means carried out by Duncan's multiple range test. Differences were considered significant at the level of P ≤ 0.05.

 Results and Discussion

Results of analysis of variance indicated highly significant differences among fenugreek genotypes for all of the measured traits.

The moisture content varied from 80.73% to 86.30% in Shahreza and Ardestan genotypes, respectively [Table 2]. The average moisture content of the genotypes was 82.97%, which is slightly lower than values (86%) reported by Gopalan et al. [15] and Bashri et al. [16] However, genotypes with low moisture content are suitable for industrial processing and so genotype Shahreza could be useful for this propose. The ash content of the studied genotypes ranged from 1.21% to 1.67% in Mobarakeh and Khansar, respectively [Table 2]. This finding was an agreement with the report of Rubatzky and Yamaguchi, [17] but lower than the report of Mandle et al. [18] and Duke. [19] The lowest phosphorous content was found in genotype Shahreza (182 mg/100 gfw), while the highest phosphorus content was found in genotype Ahwaz (250 mg/100 gfw). The average phosphorus amount of present research genotypes was higher than that obtained by Duke, [19] Rubatzky and Yamaguchi [17] and Gopalan et al. [15] The average value of the potassium content was 31.26 mg/100 gfw [Table 2]. This value can be compared with the value of 51 mg/100 gfw given by Rubatzky and Yamaguchi, [17] and 31 mg/100 gfw reported by Bashri et al. [16] The increased use of vegetables such as fenugreek in the human diet will make the potassium-sodium levels about equal, which may help prevent high blood pressures. [20] {Table 2}

Calcium was the most abundant mineral [Table 2] exceeding values reported by Duke [19] and Bashri et al. [16] Apo- and symplastic Ca absorption affects root growth and subsequent transfer to other plant parts are genetically determined in plants. [7],[21] The recommended dietary allowance of Ca is 1000 mg/day [22] and its deficiency may lead to osteoporosis. [23] Fenugreek leaves can be an adequate source of Ca. 100 g of fenugreek leaves provides 200.66-455.25 mg [Table 2] or 20-45% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Ca. The Mg content of fenugreek genotypes ranged from 130.6 to 150.6 mg/100 gfw [Table 2]. The Mg values were higher than those reported by Rubatzky and Yamaguchi, [17] Salunkhe and Kadam [24] and Bashri et al. [16] Magnesium is generally among deficient elements in the human diet and its daily consumption by adults should be 300-380 mg/day. [25] Magnesium is important for energy production and transport in the body and involved in glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation and is also required for maintaining normal heart rhythm and is involved in muscular activity and required by more than 300 enzymes in the body that catalyze functions such as protein synthesis, muscle, and nerve function. [23] Fenugreek leaves can be an adequate source of Mg and 100 g of leaves provided 34-97% RDA of magnesium [Table 2].

The Na content varied of fenugreek genotypes ranged from 27.77 to 59.40 mg/100 gfw [Table 3].{Table 3}

Genotypes Shahreza and Gaz had the lowest and highest Na content, respectively. The observed Na content in this investigation was higher than reported by Rubatzky and Yamaguchi [17] and Bashri et al. [16] Differences occurred in Fe concentration [Table 3], which was higher than reported by Rubatzky and Yamaguchi, [17] Mandle et al. [18] and Bashri et al. [16] Iron performs as a component of enzymes involved in energy production, metabolism of proteins, nucleotides, and synthesis of proteins and neurotransmitters. Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin. [23] The estimated daily requirement of Fe in the adult is 15-26 mg. Iron deficiency is commonly encountered in females. Consumption of fenugreek can be a good remedy for Fe deficiency as it promotes bioavailability. [7] Fenugreek leaves can be an adequate source of iron. 100 g of fresh leaves contains 21-116% of the RDA of iron.

The highest and lowest concentrations of Mn were observed in genotypes Kashan and Ardestan, respectively while minimum and maximum values of Zn were found in 59.40 a Ahwaz and Ardestan, respectively [Table 3]. The Zn content of fenugreek leaves has been reported to be 2.75 mg/100 gfw. [24] Zinc is an essential metal for normal functioning of various enzyme systems and prevents night blindness and prevents the development of cataracts. [23] Zinc deficiency, particularly in children, can lead to loss of appetite, growth retardation, weakness, and stagnation of sexual growth. [26] The maximum tolerable daily intake of Zn is 0.3-1 mg/kg. [27] Fenugreek leaves can be an adequate source of Zn. 100 g of leaves provides about 104-413% of RDA of Zn. However, it may be necessary to restrict the intake since excessive Zn could lead to physiological problems. The highest Cu content was in genotype Ardestan and the lowest in genotype Gaz. The observed average value of copper was higher than that reported by Bashri et al., [16] and lower than reported by Salunkhe and Kadam [24] Copper is involved in formation of cells of the immune system and it maintains proper structure and function of circulating blood vessels. [24] The estimated safe and adequate intake for copper is 1.5-3 mg/day. [28] Fenugreek leaves can be an adequate source of Cu. 100 g of leaves provides about provides 16-84% of the daily recommended levels of this micronutrient for human.

Calcium/phosphorus ratio in fenugreek cultivars varied [Table 4].{Table 4}

For every gram of P ingested in the diet, the body needs a gram of Ca before the phosphorous can be absorbed into the bloodstream. If the required Ca is not available, the body will obtain it from stored deposits in bones. The Ca/P ratio was highest in genotype Khansar and lowest in cv. Ahwaz. Phosphorus and calcium are essential macronutrients for plant growth, and most of the phosphorus in the plant cells are associated with calcium. The importance of this interaction is often overlooked. The Ca:P ratio is important human growth and a 2:1 Ca:P ratio needs to be maintained. Fenugreek leaves provide a good amount of various minerals, and the human body requires a number of minerals in order to maintain good health and a number of minerals are accumulated in different parts of plants. Minerals cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in our diet. There are 395 mg Ca, 67 mg Mg, 51 mg P, 16.5 mg Fe, 31 mg K and 0.26 mg Cu in each 100 g fresh weight of fenugreek leaves. [16] The cultivars tested were rich in Ca, Fe, P, Mg and Zn, which are essential for human health. Differences in nutrient content in other studies may be attributed to different factors like genotype, agro-climatic or environmental conditions; soil type, cultivation practices, preferential absorbability by the plant; use of fertilizers, and irrigation. [29],[30]

The Iranian fenugreek genotypes evaluated in this study showed significant phenotypic variability in terms of plant nutritional minerals. These results are similar to the findings of other researchers like Provorov et al., [31] Fikreselassie et al. [32] and Soori and Mohammadi-Nejad [33] who investigated morphological and biochemical variation in native fenugreek landraces. A collection of seven fenugreek genotypes representing relatively major cultivated of the country's fenugreek germplasm was evaluated. From this study, the fenugreek genotypes were highly variable for several nutritional traits, indicating the possibilities for genetic improvement of the fenugreek via selection and cross breeding. The varying traits of the superior genotypes have implications for further breeding work. Thus, the variation for the different traits found in fenugreek genotypes included in this investigation could be exploited and used in fenugreek breeding programs. However, regarding all of the measured traits, genotype Khansar following to genotypes Shahreza, Ardestan and Ahwaz were the most favorable genotypes considering mineral elements while genotype Mobarakeh could not be regarded from this aspect. There are clear implications from the variations among the most favorable genotypes in this study that will provide a basis for a genetically diverse breeding program and provide diversity. Crossing these favorable genotypes in a breeding program should result in segregating populations which could be useful for selecting good nutritional genotypes and could be useful for selecting specific cultivars for special purposes.


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