Mineral and vitamin composition of fruits of five underexploited species in Algeria: Celtis australis L., Crataegus azarolus L., Crataegus monogyna Jacq., Elaeagnus angustifolia L. and Zizyphus lotus L.
Introduction. Celtis australis L., Crataegus azarolus L., Crataegus monogyna Jacq., Angustifolia elaeagnus L. and Zizyphus lotus L. are unconventional fruit trees and shrubs, which are very common in Africa, especially in Algeria. Their fruits are traditionally used as sources of vitamins and minerals that could constitute a significant raw material for food. They are eaten fresh or dried. The aim of our work was to determine the vitamin and mineral composition of these fruits. Materials and methods. Our study focused on a comparison of these fruits for their biometric characteristics, and content of vitamin compounds and mineral elements in their edible portion. Results and discussion. The pulp of the five fruits studied proved to be richer in vitamins (tocopherol, carotene, vitamin C, thiamine B1) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese) than some more widely-consumed fruits. The content of some trace elements (zinc, copper) did not exceed toxicity thresholds, indicating that consumption of these fruits was not detrimental to public health. Conclusion. The fruits analysed may be a source of significant nutritional contribution and may be used in various fields: food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and others.