Title

Spatial variation of Allanblackia parviflora seed products in Ghana: Chemical and ethnobotanical exploration

Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Science

First Advisor

Associate Professor Mary Boyce

Second Advisor

Professor Pierre Horwitz

Field of Research Code

090801

Abstract

The vegetable oil production is a very vibrant sector. Statistics show that in 2016/17 alone, production amounted to 185.8 million metric tons worldwide. However, this production is dependent on some selected vegetable oils such as soybean, coconut, palm, palm kernel, sunflower, olive, peanut, cottonseed, rapeseed, and many more with palm oil being the major component. Conversely, some of these sources also serve other uses such as animal food additives, fuel, soap production, candles, perfumes and other personal care products, implying the need for the search for alternatives especially other under-utilised sources. Allanblackia parviflora is a tree crop which has not received much attention in terms of research, commercialisation and domestication. Preliminary data available indicated the potential of the products of this plant in oil production and application to industry. Irrespective of these few available data, there has not been any comprehensive work looking at the oils from Allanblackia parviflora and indigenous knowledge about the plant and its products in Ghana.

It is for this reason that this study “Spatial variation of Allanblackia parviflora seed products in Ghana: chemical and ethnobotanical exploration” is very unique and original in nature. The present study does not only look at the oil production from the seeds and kernels but also at the quality of the oil and the potential end use of the oil and its by-products. Quite apart from these, this research also integrates community with yield and quality of oil, and indigenous knowledge, one of the few studies in fat and oil research designed in this manner.

The outcome of this work has shown that Allanblackia parviflora breeding programmes can be based on the tree’s phenotypic expression. Also, best farming practices in areas equivalent to the wet evergreen forest zone (WE) can enhance oil yield. Additionally, kernel oil extraction is identified as the best method of oil extraction compared to seed oil extraction as it provides oil with valuable stability properties. The relatively low protein contents of kernel cakes permit its use as feedstock to feed ruminants but may not be suitable for poultry feeding. Likewise, the lower seed cakes protein in addition to the presence of shells consequently may affect suitability as animal feed. Common individual phenolics were not detected in both kernel and seed cakes. However, volkensiflavone and morelloflavone known for their anti-oxidative, anti-viral, antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory properties were present. Furthermore, it is evident from the ethnobotanical study that Allanblackia parviflora is popularly called ‘Sonkyi’ in most communities in Ghana. People had different uses for the trees, but majority of respondents preserved the tree in their farms because of the oil rich seeds contained in tree fruits. Demographic information of respondents did not essentially have effect on the values of the tree parts or organs in most of the communities. However, more women were actively involved in traditional oil extraction for cooking, while most men use it for timber and medicinal purposes. The outcomes of this work is of national and international importance since it has implication on the oil industry.

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