Elemental analysis is the qualitative detection and quantitative determination of chemical elements(atoms,ions)in a sample(Fritz Pregl 1923). To detect an
element, one should fix an appearance of an analytical signal. The formation of precipitate or characteristic crystals, colour change, an isolation of gaseous products, an appearance of a definite lines in spectrum, luminescence, etc. To determine elements quantity, it is necessary to measure a value of an analytical signal; a precipitate mass, intensity of a current, solution absorption, spectrum line, luminescence or radioactivity, a reaction rate and so on.(www.intechopen.com).
This study was undertaken to analse the elements present in grounded Pterocarpus mildbreadii (Oha seed) using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer(AAS MODEL-AA320N).The seed was found to contain these essential macro minerals/elements sodium(Na),Potassium(K),calcium(Ca),magnesium(Mg),and the trace elements iron(Fe),copper(Cu),zinc(Zn), and selenium(Se)(Duffus,2002).
The study established that Pterocarpus mildbreadii(oha seed) does not contain manganese and has high content of potassium which is necessary for good health.
1.1 INTRODUCTION, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
A seed or mature ovule is a miniature plant with a protective cover in a suspended state of development. Most seeds contain a built-in food supply called endosperm, orchid is an exception. The endosperm can be made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Seed can also be defined as a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant(Wikipedia).Seed protects a plant embryo so that it can grow into a new plant. Many seeds are edible, such as sunflower seeds, tomato seeds, corn and peas.
Seeds contain three distinct structures. The inside of a seed contains an embryo, which is a baby plant with a shoot and a tiny root. The two halves of a seed are stored food that provides the nourishment necessary for seeds to germinate, or begin growing. Surrounding the seed is a hard, tough seed coat, which protects the seed during dormancy(Anville 2007).
Most seeds contain a built-in food supply called endosperm. The endosperm can be made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Seeds also contain anti-nutrients in
their seed coat. These anti-nutrients includes phytin, lectin, trypsin inhibitor activity, tannin and cyanide. In addition, they also contain minerals such as sodium, potassium,calcium,magnesium,phosphorus,zinc,manganese,iron,selenium and copper.(Balogun 2000)
Oilseeds are energy dense foods; for example, sesame seeds provide 600kcal or 2470kj/1000g.Although oilseeds contain protein(|14-32g/100g)and carbohydrate(ranging from less than 1g/100g to more than 34g/100g),most of the food energy they provide is as fat(which provides 9kcal or 37kj/g).Oilseeds vary widely in their fatty acid composition but tend to be rich in MUFA(e.g peanut)r PUFA(e.g sunflower seeds).Some seed oils contain significant amounts of EFA, ALNA, an n-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid(LA),an n-6 fatty acid. from these two fatty acids, the body can make all the fatty acids it needs. From LA, arachidonic acid can be produced, and from ALNA the long chain n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA)and docosahexanoic acid(DHA)can be made.(BNF 1999).
Generally, whole oilseeds are a source of fibre, phosphorus, iron and magnesium; many oilseeds are a source of vitamin E(an antioxidant),niacin and folate. Whole oilseeds also contain phytoestrogens, a group of substances including lignans and isoflavones. Phytoestrogens have a structure similar to the oestrogen hormone oestradiol and can bind to oestrogen receptors.Phytoestrogens may provide a protective effect against coronary heart disease as they have been shown to have a
lowering effect on blood cholesterol.Additionally,some phytoestrogens may have antioxidant properties(Goldberg 2003).