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If you want to learn more about the Baobab, Adansonia digitata Bombacaceae, take a look at the descriptions below.

You’ll know everything about its local names, notanic description, biology, ecology, biophysical limits, documented species distribution, products, services, tree management, germplasm management, or pests and diseases.

Local names

  • Afrikaans (kremetart,kremetartboom);
  • Arabic (hamaraya,hamao,gungole (fruit),humier (fruit),teidoum,tabaldi,tebeldi);
  • Bemba (mubuyu);
  • Creole (mapou zombi);
  • English (upside-down tree,baobab,guinea tamarind,monkey bread tree,lemonade tree,cream-of-tartar tree,sour gourd);
  • French (pain de singe, baobab, calebassier,arbre aux calabasses,mapou zombi,mapou etranger);
  • Fula (boki,bokchi);
  • German (Affenbrotbaum);
  • Hausa (kuka);
  • Hindi (gorakh-imli,gorak lichora,gorak amla,gorak ali,gorakh-cinch,kapla-vriksha,khura-sani-imli);
  • Lozi (mubuyu,muyu);
  • Mandinka (sito,sira);
  • Nyanja (mbuyu,mkulukumba,mlambe);
  • Sinhala (aliha gaha); Somali (yak);
  • Swahili (mbuyu);
  • Tamil (paparapulia,anaipuli,anaipuliya-maram,perruka);
  • Tigrigna (kommer,hermer banba,momret,duma);
  • Tongan (mubuyu); Tswana (mowana);
  • Wolof (bui,buee,goui,gui,gwi);
  • Zulu (isiMuku,isiMuhu,umShimulu)

Botanic description

Adansonia digitata is a large, round canopied tree with a swollen trunk, about 10-25 m in height, often with a bole of 3-10 m (giant individuals attain a girth of up to 28 m); bark is soft, smooth, fibrous, reddish-brown, greyish-brown or purplish-grey; bark of leaf-bearing branches is normally ashy on the last node; a green layer below the outer, waxy layer of the bark, presumably to assist in photosynthesis when the tree has shed its leaves.

  • The thick, fibrous bark is remarkably fire resistant, and even if the interior is completely burnt out, the tree continues to live. Regrowth after fire results in a thickened, uneven integument that gives the tree its gnarled appearance resembling an elephant‚Äôs skin but that serves as added protection against fire. Mature thick and extensive lateral roots anchor the tree on the ground and end in clusters of potatolike tubers; the thick, strong, prominent taproot at 6 months is 3 times the length of the seedling; roots grow fast but never penetrate far beyond a depth of 2 m, which explains why in old age they are often found toppled when the branches increase in weight.
  • Leaves alternate, digitately 3- to 9-foliate; leaflets oblong to ovate, 5-15 x 3-7 cm, lower leaflets being the smallest and terminal leaflet the largest; leaflets dark green, with short, soft hairs; lateral veins looping; apex and base tapering; margin entire; petiolules absent or almost so; petiole up to 12 cm long.
  • Flowers a waxy white, up to 20 cm in diameter, axillary, solitary, pendulous, bisexual; all floral parts in 5s; calyx deeply lobed, with white, silky hairs inside; large, crinkly, spreading petals; many stamens on a large central column that is shed with the petals; ovary superior, 5-10 chambered; petals bruise easily and become brown; flowers have an unpleasant scent.
  • Fruit ovoid, 12 cm or more in length, with a hard, woody shell, covered with yellowish-grey velvety hairs, indehiscent; seeds smooth, embedded in a whitish powdery pulp, have little or no endosperm.
  • The name commemorates the French botanist Michel Adanson (1727- 1806), who lived in Senegal for 6 years and wrote a work on that country‚Äôs natural history. Linneaus dedicated the genus and species to him; ‚Äėdigitata‚Äô means hand shaped, referring to the shape of the leaf.

Biology

Mostly bats (Ephormorphus wahlbergii and Rousettus aegyptiacus) pollinate the flowers. The flowers emit what some describe as a strong carrion smell, which is presumably attractive to the bats; it is also known to attract the bluebottle fly (Chrysomyia marginalis) and at least 3 nocturnal moths: American bollworm (Heliothis armigera), red bollworm (Diparopsis castanea) and spring bollworm (Earias biplaga). In East Africa, the bush baby (Galago crassicaudatus) feeds nocturnally on the flowers, thus aiding in pollination. In southern Africa the tree flowers from October to December and fruits from April to May.

Ecology

The tree is characteristic of thorn woodlands of the African savannahs, which are characterized by low altitudes with 4-10 dry months a year split into 1 or 2 periods. A. digitata is resistant to fire, termite and drought, and prefers a high watertable. It occurs as isolated individuals or grouped in clumps irrespective of soil type. It is not found in areas of deep sand, presumably because it is unable to obtain sufficient anchorage and moisture. A. digitata is very sensitive to waterlogging and frost. All A. digitata locations can be described as arid and semi-arid, with not more than a day frost per year.

Biophysical limits

Altitude: 0-1500 m, Mean annual rainfall: (100)250-1 000(1500) mm.
Soil type: Shows a preference for well-drained soils that are acidic

Documented species distribution

Native:
Exotic: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Martinique, Mauritius, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sao Tome et Principe, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, US, Virgin Islands (US)

The map above shows countries where the species have been planted. It does neither suggest that the species can be planted in every ecological zone within that country, nor that the species can not be planted in other countries than those depicted. Since some tree species are invasive, you need to follow biosafety procedures that apply to your planting site.

Baobab Adansonia digitata Bombacaceae

Map Baobab Adansonia digitata Bombacaceae

Products

  • Food: An edible white, powdery pulp found in the fruit is very rich in vitamin C and B2 and makes a refreshing drink. Ripe fruits are collected and cracked to remove the ‚Äėflour‚Äô, which is mixed with milk to prepare a flavoured fermented porridge. Young leaves are also rich in Vitamin C, contain uronic acids, and are high in demand in West Africa as a soup vegetable. In Ferlo, North Senegal, an extract of the leaves, called ‚Äėlalo‚Äô, is used to give couscous (millet porridge) a smooth consistency. The leaves also form an excellent condiment and seasoning.
    The small stem and roots of the seedlings are eaten as vegetable; mature, thick roots are cooked and eaten during famine. A root decoction is widely used in Sierra Leone as food. It is prepared by boiling, roasting, soaking or fermenting the roots, and tastes like almonds. Having a high water content, the wood is chewed by humans and animals in case of extreme water scarcity. The wood can be used as a salt substitute. The acid pith is used as a substitute for cream of tartar in baking, to curdle milk and smoke fish. It is also roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The seeds contain appreciable quantities of tartaric acid and potassium bitar; they are refreshing to suck, and when soaked in water make a palatable drink.
  • Fodder: Young leaves, fruit, pods and seeds provide fodder for game and domestic animals. During drought, donkeys and game animals chew both the bark and fibrous wood for sap. Livestock and game often destroy young trees.
  • Apiculture: The tree is a source of fine quality honey. Wild bees manage to perforate the soft wood and lodge their honey in the holes. In many parts of Africa, the hollow trunks are used for beekeeping.
  • Fuel: The long-fibred wood is suitable for firewood. The shell and seeds are also used for fuel, which potters use to smooth earthenware necklaces before firing.
  • Fibre: The bark from the lower part of the stem of younger trees and of the roots can be removed to produce a valuable fibre. If managed properly the trees are not seriously damaged, and even after repeated use the bark regenerates and can be stripped again some years later. It is used to make excellent cordage, ropes, harness straps, mats, snares and fishing lines, fibre cloth, musical instrument strings tethers, bed-springs and bow strings. In both Senegal and Ethiopia, the fibres are woven into waterproof hats that may also serve as drinking vessels. The fibre is the best for making the famous ‚Äėkiondo‚Äô baskets of Kenya. Strong, tough and tear-resistant paper is produced from the fibre. It is commercially exploited in India for currency notes.
  • Timber: The wood is whitish, spongy and light (air-dried 320 kg/cubic m). It is used for making canoes, rafts, insulating boards, wooden platters and trays, boxes and floats for fishing nets.
  • Gum or resin: Glue can be made by mixing flower pollen with water.
  • Tannin or dyestuff: The wood contains some tannins, and the acid pith is used to coagulate rubber. In East Africa, the roots produce a useful red dye.
  • Lipids: A non-drying, golden yellow oil of agreeable taste, which is used in gala occasions in Senegal, may be obtained by distilling the seeds. In Bicha and Mondo villages in Tanzania, A. digitata seeds are used as a substitute for cooking oil.
  • Alcohol: The Wasandawe of Tanzania use the liquid from the pulp for brewing beer, as do the Akamba people of Kenya, who use the seed pulp as fermenting agent in some local beer.
  • Poison: The bark is boiled for days to extract a substance poisonous to ants. Fruit pulp burns with an acrid, irritating smoke that can be used to deter insects troublesome to livestock.
  • Medicine: Hyposensitive and antihistamine properties are present in the leaves, which are used to treat kidney and bladder diseases, asthma, general fatigue, diarrhoea, insect bites, and guinea worm. Leaf and flower infusions are valued for respiratory problems, digestive disorders and eye inflammation. The seed paste is used for curing tooth and gum diseases. The fruit pulp, seed and bark are reputedly an antidote to Strophanthus poisoning. Gum from the bark is used for cleansing sores. It is also used as an expectorant and a diaphoretic. The bark is used in steam baths for calming shivering and high fever. A decoction of the roots is taken as a remedy for lassitude impotence and kwashiorkor. The bark is boiled and taken as a cure for body pains. This infusion is also used to treat colds, fever and influenza. Seeds are used to cure gastric, kidney and joint diseases; they are roasted then ground and the powder smeared on the affected part or drunk in water.
  • Other products: Ash from the shell, bark and seed, rich in potash, is widely used in making soap, prepared by boiling the bark and fruit ash in oil. The shell can be used as a dish, water dipper, vessel for liquids, snuffbox, fishing float; it also makes an excellent rat trap. The powdered husk or penducule may be smoked as a tobacco substitute or added to snuff to increase pungency. The pulp extract can be used as a hair wash.

Services

Soil improver: Decaying wood of a tree that has died of old age or from lightning is spread on fields as a fertilizer. Ashes from the shell, bark and seed are rich in potash and are useful as a fertilizer.

Ornamental: A. digitata is a popular species for bonsai specimens. The South African ‚ÄėBaobab Style‚Äô originated with A. digitata.

Other services: In dry regions, A. digitata plays a vital role in water storage; a hollowed trunk may be carved out in 3-4 days. A medium-sized tree may hold 400 gallons while a large tree could contain over 2000 gallons, and water stored in them is said to remain sweet for several years if the hollow is kept well closed.
In East Africa the trunks are hollowed out to provide shelter and storage, and in West Africa the hollowed trunks are sometimes used as tombs.

Tree management

Once established, the seedlings grow well, becoming 2 m tall in 2 years, and 7 m tall in 10 years. The tree then grows slowly but lives long; under favourable conditions some A. digitata may live for more than 1000 years. There is a prehistoric drawing of an A. digitata tree at the National Museums of Kenya. The trunk may even shrink during periods of severe drought. A. digitata may be pollarded or lopped to encourage abundance of leaves.

Germplasm management

Seeds are probably orthodox; no loss in viability during 1 year of hermetic storage at 4 deg. C; viability can be maintained for several years in hermetic storage at 3 deg. C with 8-11 % mc. There are normally 2000-3000 seeds/kg.

Pests and diseases

The tree is very much liked by elephants, which cut the storage tissue of the bole and can damage or even destroy a tree.
Insects include cotton bollworms (Diparopsis castanea, Earias biplaga and Heliothis armigera), cotton stainer bugs (Dysercus fasciatus, D. intermedius, D. nigrofasciatus, D. suberstitious, Odontopus exsanguinis, O. sexpunctatus and Oxycarenus albipennis), and flea beetles (Podagrica spp.). Pollarding was formerly practised in the Sudan to control cotton stainers, but was also found to stop the fruiting for at least 2 years. In Ghana an unidentified black beetle is reported to damage and eventually destroy branches by girdling. Also from West Africa there is a report that a long¬horn beetle, Aneleptes trifascicata, attacks and kills young trees by girdling the stem. In the Transvaal, the masonga caterpillar or mopane worm, Gonimbrasia herlina, is said to feed on the leaves.
A. digitata is also host to members of the Pseudococcoidae family, the mealy bugs, which act as the vectors for various virus diseases of cocoa in West Africa, as well as the cocoa capsid, Distantiella theobroma.
The sooty baobab syndrome is an episodic, drought-induced phenomenon related to climatic changes, made worse in recent times by human interference that limits local availability of soil moisture. Affected trees, which appear dead or dying exhibit a striking, blackened or burnt appearance, hence the colloquial term ‚Äėsooty baobabs‚Äô.

Further reading

Abbas B, El-Tayeb AE, Sulleiman YR. 1992. Calotropis procera: feed potential for arid zones. Veterinary-Record. 131(6):132.
Albrecht J. ed. 1993. Tree seed hand book of Kenya. GTZ Forestry Seed Center Muguga, Nairobi, Kenya. Anon. 1986. The useful plants of India. Publications & Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi, India.
Arum G. 1989. Baobab. Adansonia digitata. Indigenous Tree Training Series: Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD). KENGO.
Becker B.1983. The contribution of wild plants to human nutrition in the Ferlo (north Senegal). Agroforestry Systems. 1:257-267.
Beentje HJ. 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya.
Bein E. 1996. Useful trees and shrubs in Eritrea. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU), Nairobi, Kenya.
Bekele-Tesemma A, Birnie A, Tengnas B. 1993. Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU), Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).
Birnie A. 1997. What tree is that? A beginner’s guide to 40 trees in Kenya. Jacaranda designs Ltd.
Bonkougou EG, Djimde M, Ayuk ET, Zougrana I, Tchoundjeu Z. 1999. The market potential of parkland trees: Agroforestry Today. 11(1-2):13-15.
Coates-Palgrave K. 1988. Trees of southern Africa. C.S. Struik Publishers Cape Town.
Dale IR, Greenway PJ. 1961. Kenya trees and shrubs. Buchanan’s Kenya Estates Ltd.
Hines DA, Eckman K. 1993. Indigenous multipurpose trees for Tanzania: uses and economic benefits to the people. Cultural survival Canada and Development Services Foundation of Tanzania.
Hong TD, Linington S, Ellis RH. 1996. Seed storage behaviour: a compendium. Handbooks for Genebanks: No. 4. IPGRI.
ICRAF. 1992. A selection of useful trees and shrubs for Kenya: Notes on their identification, propagation and management for use by farming and pastoral communities. ICRAF.
Lanzara P. and Pizzetti M. 1978. Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Trees. New York: Simon and Schuster
Mbuya LP et al. 1994. Useful trees and shrubs for Tanzania: Identification, Propagation and Management for Agricultural and Pastoral Communities. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU), Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).
Nkana ZG, Iddi S. 1991. Utilization of Baobab (Adansonia digitata) in Konda district, Central Tanzania. Sokoine University, Tanzania.
Noad T, Birnie A. 1989. Trees of Kenya. General Printers, Nairobi.
Palmer E, Pitman N. 1972. Trees of Southern Africa Vol. 2. A.A. BalKema Cape Town.
Piearce GD et al. 1994. Sooty baobabs – disease or drought? Forestry Commission Zimbabwe. Sahni KC. 1968. Important trees of the northern Sudan. United Nations and FAO.
Saka JDK, Rapp I, Akinnifesi FK, Ndolo V, Mhango J. 2007. A comparative study of the physicochemical and organoleptic characteristics of Uapaca kirkiana, Strychnos cocculoides, Adansonia digitata and Mangifera indica fruit products: International Journal of Food Science and Technology. 42:836-841.
Sakai KI, Rumbino A, Iyama S & Gadrinab LU. 1987. Studies on the interference among trees in a plantations of Altingia excelsa. Biotropica. 1: 26-40.
Sidibe M, Williams JT. 2002. Baobab, Adansonia digitata L. Southampton, UK: International Centre for Underutilised Crops. 96p.
Storrs AEG. 1995. Know your trees: some common trees found in Zambia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU). Szolnoki TW. 1985. Food and fruit trees of Gambia. Hamburg. Federal Republic of Germany.
Tietema T, Merkesdal E and Schroten J. 1992. Seed germination of indigenous trees in Botswana. Acts Press.
Traore F. 1998. Use of woody and non-woody products for the preparation of foods in Konodimini in Segou region. Bamako, Mali: University of Mali. 42p.
Venter F, Venter J-A. 1996. Making the most of Indigenous trees. Briza Publications.
Vogt K. 1995. A field guide to the identification, propagation and uses of common trees and shrubs of dryland Sudan. SOS Sahel International (UK).
W ickens GE. 1982. The baobab РAfrica’s upside-down tree. Kew Bulletin. 37(2).
Williams R.O & OBE. 1949. The useful and ornamental plants in Zanzibar and Pemba. Zanzibar Protectorate.
SUGGESTED CITATION
Orwa C, Mutua A , Kindt R , Jamnadass R, Simons A. 2009. Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0 (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/)


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Also known as the Giant Madagascar baobab (Adansonia grandidieri), or Grandidier’s baobab, this iconic tree once towered over Madagascar’s dramatic arid western landscapes but now exists in only five known locations.

Its thick, bottle-shaped trunks hold large amounts of water, an extremely valuable resource to people and wildlife living in the drier regions of this island nation.

The baobab reflects the uniqueness of Madagascar’s flora. All but one of the world’s eight baobab species survive here, and most are found nowhere else on the planet.

GIANT MADAGASCAR BAOBAB

GIANT MADAGASCAR BAOBAB

More information about the giant Baobab tree of Madagascar

Malagasy communities call this tree the ‚Äúmother of the forest‚ÄĚ, because of its edible fruits, oil-bearing seeds, and bark that can be made into rope. In many areas, certain believers consider individual baobabs sacred and make regular offerings. Like other large trees in habitats around the world, this baobab plays an essential role in the local ecosystem. While nocturnal bats pollinate most baobabs, this particular species is pollinated by nocturnal lemurs.

Its status as a resource provider and occasional sacred site has spared individual baobabs in areas where much of the original forests has been cleared. Scientists believe that in earlier times, baobabs grew in deciduous forests near to water. Today, however, they are scattered throughout degraded lands.

The baobab has difficulty reproducing in these unnatural conditions, which has resulted in a steadily aging population. Converting land for agricultural development has dramatically transformed, and in turn reduced, the baobab‚Äôs habitat. Competition from invasive species only worsens the situation, placing the species ‚Äď and the abundant life it once supported ‚Äď under threat.

Scientists expect habitat loss and climate change to cause many extinctions of plant species. CI-Madagascar is working closely with nongovernmental and government partners, as well as local communities, to address the country’s deforestation and land management issues.

In 2003, the Madagascar government committed to tripling the size of its current protected area network. By identifying sites, or Key Biodiversity Areas, where threatened species such as the baobab are known to exist, we are helping to ensure that protected areas include the most critical places for conservation.

Since the global conservation status of most plants have never been assessed, many species are likely to disappear before we know they exist. The majestic baobab, itself on the brink of extinction, stands as a symbol for those plants we may yet lose.


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The Baobabs are full of mystery and wonder in Africa, tales have been brought down verbally from generation to generation. We have tried to compile as much as possible regarding this great tree of life.

Legends of the Baobab Tree

Picture © 2004 J.F. Broekhuis

Focus on these legends

A very, very long time ago, some African legends say that the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew taller and looked about it spied other trees, noting their colorful flowers, straight and handsome trunks, and large leaves. Then one day the wind died away leaving the water smooth as a mirror, and the tree finally got to see itself. The reflected image shocked it to its root hairs. Its own flowers lacked bright color, its leaves were tiny, it was grossly fat, and its bark resembled the wrinkled hide of an old elephant.

In a strongly worded invocation to the creator, the baobab complained about the bad deal it’d been given. This impertinence had no effect: Following a hasty reconsideration, the deity felt fully satisfied. Relishing the fact that some organisms were purposefully less than perfect, the creator demanded to know whether the baobab found the hippopotamus beautiful, or the hyena’s cry pleasant-and then retired in a huff behind the clouds.

But back on earth the barrel-chested whiner neither stopped peering at its reflection nor raising its voice in protest. Finally, an exasperated creator returned from the sky, seized the ingrate by the trunk, yanked it from the ground, turned it over, and replanted it upside down. And from that day since, the baobab has been unable to see its reflection or make complaint; for thousands of years it has worked strictly in silence, paying off its ancient transgression by doing good deeds for people. All across the African continent some variation on this story is told to explain why this species is so unusual and yet so helpful.


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Many cultures claim to remember a time when great and ancient trees cloaked vast areas of the earth. The enchanting original forests and foreboding gigantic trees were of mythical dimensions and proportions.

The Mythical Baobab

The Mythical Baobab

Learn more about the mythical Baobab

The African baobab is a living embodiment of timeless affinities with nature common to many peoples throughout the continent. It serves as a metaphoric window into Africa’s real or imagined past, through which we may view practices said to be of great antiquity.

Visitors to Sukur are warned not to approach a certain ancient baobab tree because, villagers say, it turns people into hermaphrodites.

Several myths that use the baobab as a backdrop for teaching moral lessons are told by the Bushmen or Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. One tale involving the baobab which is used to explain a phenomenon of nature as well as teach a moral lesson is the myth ‚ÄúThe Tale of the Superman‚ÄĚ. In this story a husband boasts to his wife that he is the strongest man alive. He learns of another man who claims to be ‚Äúsuperman‚ÄĚ, and goes to seek him out. This second ‚Äúsuperman‚ÄĚ is actually an extremely powerful superhuman who kicks up wind wherever he goes and eats men for dinner. While trying to escape from ‚Äúsuperman‚ÄĚ, the husband comes across the ‚ÄúGiant-of-the-Forest‚ÄĚ sitting under a baobab tree. The giant offers to help the husband, and enters into a terrible fight with ‚Äúsuperman‚ÄĚ. In their struggle to free themselves from each other‚Äôs grasp, they leap to such a height they disappear into the heavens. As a result, their struggle can be heard as thunder.

The moral of the story is summed up by the wife who says, ‚ÄúNever boast about your achievements again. However strong or clever or rich or powerful you are, there is always somebody more so.‚ÄĚ


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Baobab powder is known for its amazing properties and its nutritious qualities. But is it really true? Let’s check it out.

Background

The baobab tree is highly distinctive in the areas of Africa where it grows. It is found in relatively dry grassland areas where its massive size stands out against the other low-lying bushes and trees. The shape of the tree is also distinctive, with broad trunks that have few branches until the top of the tree produces a wide canopy. In Zimbabwe, the baobab is called the upside-down tree because its canopy looks more like a root system. Legend has it that God turned the tree upside down because he found the taste of its fruit so disagreeable.

Baobab tree

Baobab tree

Ironically, that same fruit is attracting much interest these days. It has a very bitter, citrusy taste, but one that is growing on some people. In the past few years, baobab fruit has been touted as the next ‚Äúsuper fruit‚ÄĚ coming from the ‚Äútree of life‚ÄĚ. A major impetus for marketing baobab occurred in 2008 when dried baobab fruit pulp was approved as a novel food under EU regulation. The pulp is made by removing the seeds and fibre from the fruit, with the remainder dried and powdered. In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration recognised dried baobab fruit pulp as generally safe. This opened the regulatory door to it being used in foods and food supplements. The raw fruit itself is generally not available outside Africa.

Evidence from studies

Most studies of baobab have focused on its nutrient content, particularly that of the dried fruit pulp that is available in Europe and the US. Advertisements claim that baobab has more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk. That all depends on how much you consume! Independent tests have found that both the fruit and foods made from the pulp vary considerably in their nutrient content. For example, the amount of vitamin C in fruit from different baobab trees can vary four-fold. This is due to different soil conditions, weather during growth and the quality of storage and processing.

In spite of this, baobab fruit pulp is an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, iron and some other nutrients.

For example, 20g will provide 40-70 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The same amount of baobab pulp provides 5-10 per cent of the recommended daily intake of the minerals listed above. The bulk of the powder is composed of carbohydrates, with a small amount of protein.

The fruit pulp has also been found to have good antioxidant activity.

Problematic aspects

There are no known negative effects of baobab fruit, although this area has not been studied in controlled research.

Recommendations

The baobab fruit is highly nutritious, although very tart. Fruit juice traditionally made from the baobab is usually loaded up with sugar to make it more palatable. The dried fruit pulp is becoming increasingly available in exotic fruit drinks, shakes and food supplements. Although many claims are made that baobab has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial or anti-diarrhoeal properties, none of these have been examined in human studies.

While interest in baobab is growing outside Africa, it will be important not to remove such nutritious foods from those who depend on it. Other exotic fruits have been marketed so heavily in the West that the food became too expensive for those living in the areas where it grows. All parts of the baobab tree are important in Africa for different purposes. At the same time, a renewable resource such as baobab fruit, appropriately managed, is an important commercial possibility for parts of Africa with few other natural resources.


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The Latin name for Baobab, Adansonia digitata, is in honour of the French botanist, Michel Adanson, who concluded that out of all the trees he had studied, the Baobab, ‚Äúis probably the most useful tree in all‚ÄĚ.

M. Adanson is himself testimony to this claim: he consumed Baobab juice twice a day, throughout his five years in Senegal and remained convinced that this maintained his fighting health. The discovery of Baobab fruits in ancient Egyptian tombs has demonstrated how prized these fruits were, however they were notoriously difficult to acquire, since the Egyptians were reliant on traders traveling the caravan route from Sudan. It seems that the commonly used European name, Baobab, originated from the Cairo merchant’s usage of the word, bu hobab, for a fruit not indigenous to Egypt.

Baobab tree

Baobab tree

The Egyptians found a niche for the Baobab Fruit Pulp in Europe where the powdered extract formed a competitive rival to the tablet terra lemnia, a sacred sealed earth, used to cure those consumed by poison. The Baobab‚Äôs famous silhouette has become legendary, generating the common name, ‚Äúthe upside-down tree‚ÄĚ, to describe the unusual root-like branches which are seasonally devoid of foliage. Baobabs are found throughout Africa – mostly in the hotter, drier areas and indeed, many people‚Äôs first reaction is to marvel at their strange shapes and proportions. With their massive trunks, crooked branches and furry fruit, baobabs have adapted to a dry and hostile environment, and the secret to success may just lay in their appearance. The massive trunk has little wood fiber and can hold up to 300 liters of water, enabling it to live through long periods without rain. The trees have fruit as unique as the tree itself. It may be round or oval shaped and has a fury coating around a hard woody shell that shields a number of seeds rich in citric acid and oil, embedded in a whitish, powdery-soft and nutritious pulp, called ‚Äúmonkey-bread‚ÄĚ .

Traditional Uses

The medicinal uses of the Baobab’s fruit were first officially praised by Venetian herbalist and physician Prospero Alpini, in 1592, who noted that the ancient Egyptians used it for treating fevers, dysentery and bloody wounds. However, even prior to Alpini’s writings, the fruit has a long history of safe nutritional and medicinal usage in Africa. In traditional medicine, baobab fruit pulp is used to treat fever, diarrhea, malaria, haemoptysis, as a febrifuge, painkiller and in the treatment of smallpox and measles. Cosmetic products are also made from the pulp and leaf extracts.

A cool drink is made out of the pulp which makes for a refreshing break. This lemonade type drink is consumed by both the healthy and the sick. It is also often given as a calming agent for those with a fever, but is also used to combat diarrhea, dysentery, small pox, measles and haemoptysis. Pregnant women in The Gambia use it as an important source of Calcium. In addition, the herding people in Africa used the citric and tartaric acids of the pulp as milk curdling agents.

Active Ingredients

The baobab fruit pulp is a very important nutritional supplement with interesting medicinal properties and is best-known for its high vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) content and is thus often given as a calming agent against fever. The pulp also contains high values of carbohydrates, calcium, potassium, thiamine and nicotinic acid. Most significant is the Integral Antioxidant Capacity (IAC), which is due to the presence of ascorbic, citric, tartaric, malic and succinic acids. Other essential vitamins present are riboflavin and niacin. In addition, the pulp contains 23% pectin making it an important binding and diluting ingredient. The antioxidants are essential for protection against free radicals, maintenance of metabolic processes, synthesis of steroidal hormones, connective tissues, assisting neurotransmitters and preventing degenerative diseases, as well as increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium and iron. The pulp has proven to stimulate intestinal microflora making it a potential prebiotic ingredient. Tests have also confirmed its importance as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antipyretic and analgesic agent.

Botanical name: Adansonia digitata

Common names: Baobab, Monkey Bread Tree, Kremetart tree, Cream of Tartar, Upside-down Tree

The baobab was amongst the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. The baobab saw the palm tree and cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.

Products are derived from parts of the tree including dried leaves which are rich in carotene, calcium and mucilage. The bark and leaves are also useful in the treatment of fever and are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties. The seed is either pulped and applied externally, or as a drink in water to cure gastric, kidney and joint diseases.

Parts Used Fruit pulp

Product

Baobab 50/50 powder extract (PE) Free flowing depectinised powder Good solubility, clear in solution

Manufacturing procedure

Water extract which is spray-dried onto Maltodextrin into a fine hygroscopic powder. Contains no preservatives or colorants.

Product Specification

Plant material used       РAdansonia digitata fruct pulv sicc

Appearance     РBeige powder

Odour and Taste          РCharacteristic of Adansonia digitata

Extract solvents            РWater

Country of origin          РSouth Africa

 

Chemical Specification

Solubility          Р0.3 g/100 ml

Moisture          Р< 5% m/m

Ascorbic acid   Р200-300 mg/100g

pH       Р@15% solution m/m

Thin Layer Chromatography – Compare to references run under the same conditions

Metals

Lead    Р< 5 mg/kg

Cadmium         Р< 0.2 mg/kg

Mercury           Р< 0.1 mg/kg

Arsenic            Р< 3.0 mg/kg

Calcium           Р130 mg/100g

Microbiological Specification

Total aerobic count      Р< 10 000 cfu/g

Coliforms         Р< 100 cfu/g

Yeast and Moulds        Р< 100 cfu/g

Escherichia coli            РAbsent/g

Staphylococcus aureus – Absent/25g

Salmonella       РAbsent/10ml

Storage and Packaging requirements

Standard packaging     Р1 kg and 5kg

Sorage conditions       РClosed airtight container, dark, cool and dry conditions

 

Possible Applications

Can be used in product formulation to provide nutritional fortification, flavour enhancement, viscosity and texture modification and as a source of dietary fibre and nutrients. Specific applications could include:

– Soft drinks

– Natural fruit smoothies

– Fruit fillings, jams, sauces, puddings and desserts

– Snack bars, breakfast cereals, biscuits and snacks

– Health supplements, botanical extracts including antioxidants

– Various active cosmetic uses, including antioxidants for anti-aging, skin tightening, moisturizers, and hair and nail strengthening products.


[Total : 0    Moyenne : 0/5]

Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp An application for Novel Foods
Approval in the EU as a food ingredient.

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Specification of Baobab dried fruit pulp

2.1 Phytochemistry of Baobab, Adansonia digitata

2.1.1 Seeds 2.1.2 Roots 2.1.3 Leaves 2.1.4 Bark 2.1.5 Fruit

2.2 Specification of PhytoTrade‚Äôs product ‚Äď Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

2.2.1 Introduction

2.2.2 Consistency of Baobab dried fruit pulp

3.0 Effect of the production process applied to Baobab dried fruit pulp

3.1 Stability of Baobab fruit pulp

4.0 History of the organism used as the source of Baobab dried fruit pulp

4.1 PhytoTrade Africa’s Pre-Qualified Supplier (PQS) system as quality control

5.0 Anticipated Intake of Baobab Fruit Pulp and extent of use

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Smoothie Drink Products

5.3 Cereal Bar Products

5.4 Anticipated levels with regard to the medicinal effects of Baobab 5.5 Conclusions

6.0 Information from previous human exposure to Baobab dried fruit pulp or its source

6.1 Traditional Food Uses of Baobab Fruit Pulp 6.2 Medicinal uses of Baobab Fruit Pulp

6.2.1 Folklore

6.3 Scientific studies

6.3.1 Trypanocidal properties

6.3.2 Anti-oxidant properties

6.3.3 Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti -pyretic properties

6.3.4 Rehydration Treatment 6.3.5 Anti-viral properties 6.3.6 Hepatoprotection

6.4 Conclusion

7.0 Nutritional information on Baobab dried fruit pulp

7.1 Ascorbic Acid Content 7.2 Pectin Content

7.3 Fatty Acid Content

7.4 Nutritional constituents 7.5 Vitamin B Content

7.6 Trace Elements

7.7 Heavy Metal Analysis 7.8 Amino acid content

7.9 Microbiological Content 7.10 Pesticides Residues Content

7.11 Anti-nutrients in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

8.0 Safety Profile and Toxicity Studies of Baobab dried fruit pulp

8.1 Introduction – Literature surveys and history of use 8.2 Skin test- Irritation

8.3 LD50 Test in rodents

8.4 Cyclopropene Fatty Acids

8.5 LC50 brine shrimp assay

8.6 Adansonin

8.7 Ochratoxin Content

8.8 Cyanide Content

8.9 Toxicity of closely related species and the botanical family 8.10 Conclusion

9.0 Allergenicity of Baobab dried fruit pulp 10.0 Appendices

11.0 References

1.0 Introduction

PhytoTrade Africa wish to place on the market in the European Union, dried Baobab Fruit Pulp derived from the fruits of Adansonia digitata for use as a nutritional food ingredient. Approval for this product is sought under the EC regulation No. 258/97 which is concerned with the introduction of novel foods and ingredients into the EU and ensures that the novel food in question is assessed for its safety prior to its introduction to the general public. The product is falling under and is also applicable under category 2 (categories of novel foods and novel food ingredients identified in Article 1 (2)(e) of Regulation (EC) No 258/97. This describes the novel food as ‚ÄúFoods and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from plants and food ingredients isolated from animals, except for foods and food ingredients obtained by traditional propagating and breeding practices and which have a history of safe food use”. Since the product is derived from plant material obtained from non – GM sources, the classification under category 4, ‚ÄúScientific Classification of Novel Foods for the Assessment of Wholesomeness‚ÄĚ which facilitates the nutritional and safety of the novel food, is applicable. According to Commission Recommendation 97/618/EC which provides guidance on presentation of data required for the safety assessment of novel foods, this product is classified as class 2 ‚ÄúComplex novel food from non ‚ÄďGM sources‚ÄĚ and sub section 2.2 ‚Äúthe source of the novel foods which has no history of food use in the community (class 2.2)‚ÄĚ.

Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp An application for Novel Foods

Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp An application for Novel Foods

2.0 Specification of Baobab Fruit Pulp

The Baobab tree Adansonia digitata is a member of the Bombacaceae family which consists of around 20 genera and around 180 species (Heywood, 1993) including closely related species such as Adansonia gregori and Adanosnia madagascariensis (Shukla et al., 2001). Also known as the ‚Äúupside down tree‚ÄĚ, on pollination by fruit bats, it produces large green or brownish fruits which are capsules and characteristically indehiscent. The capsules contain a soft whitish powdery pulp and reinform, kidney shaped seeds (Sidibe & Williams 2002).

The Baobab tree is found primarily in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (Keith & Palgrave, 2000) but it is also common in America (Rashford, 1994), India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, Jamaica and Holland (Sidibe & Williams, 2002). Its taxonomic classification is as follows:

Kingdom                      Plantae

Division                        Magnoliophyta

Class                            Magnoliopsida

Order                          Malvales

Family                          Bombacaceae

Bombacaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards) The families of flowering plants: descriptions.

 

2.1 Phytochemistry of Baobab, Adansonia digitata

The literature has reported the isolation of a number of compounds from Adansonia digitata. These compounds have been found in a various parts of the plant including the seeds, roots, leaves, bark, and the fruits.

2.1.1 Seeds

JP Bianchi et al (1982) reported the extraction of several class of chemicals from the unsaponfiable matter the seeds of two species Adansonia, A. grandieri and A. suarezensis. The major components were 4-demethylsterols (23-42%), tocopherols (10-37%), and hydrocarbons (15-17%). In both species, sitosterol (81-88%) was the most predominant 4-demethylsterol, and gamma-tocopherol (68-98%) was the major compound in the tocopherol group. In the hydrocarbon fraction, squalene (40-75%) was the major component.

Gray et al (1986) reported the isolation of O-acetylethanolamine from the seeds of A. digitata. The dansyl derivative was isolated and used to identify the molecular structure. The O-acetylethanolamine is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Fatty acids have also been isolated from the seeds, including the identification of cyclopropenoid fatty acids (CPFA’s). These compounds are more fully discussed in section 8.4.)

2.1.2 Roots

Kumar et al (1987) reported the isolation of a new flavonol from the roots of A. digitata. This flavonol glycoside was identified as fisetin-7-O-alpha­rhamnopyranoside. Y N Shukla et al (2001) reported in a review that 3,7-dihydroxy­flava-4-one-5-O-beta-D-galactopyranosyl-(1-4)-beta-D-glucopyranoside and also quercitin-7-O-beta-D-xylopyranoside had also been isolated from the roots.

2.1.3 Leaves

Garrett C Smith et al (1 996) extracted a series of vitamin A precursors from the leaves of A.digitata. Alpha carotene was found at 1.01mg/100g, beta-carotene was found at 5.92mg/100g, and cryptoxanthin was found at 0.81mg/100g of leaves.

2.1.4 Bark

A review by Y N Shukla et al (2001) reported that friedelin, lupeol, baurenol, and betulinic acid had all been isolated from the bark of A. digitata. Tuani et al (1997) found several classes of compounds including flavonoids, glycosides, and tannins, but did not mention specific compounds.

2.1.5 Fruit

Al-Qawari et al (2003), states that the triterpenoids beta-sitosterol, beta-amyrin palmitate, alpha-amyrin palmitate, and ursolic acids have been found in the fruit.

A report by Airan and Desai (1954) highlighted the presence of organic acids in the fruit pulp. These included citric, tartaric, malic, succinic, and ascorbic acid. Nour et al (1980) confirmed the observations of Airan and Desai when they determined that the pulp contained ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, mainly water soluble pectins, and the elements of iron and calcium.

 

2.2 Specification of PhytoTrade‚Äôs product ‚Äď Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

2.2.1 Introduction

A number of analyses were conducted on PhytoTrade‚Äôs Baobab dried fruit pulp to establish a compositional profile of the product. Other analyses were used to support the safety of the product, in terms of potential toxic components; to indicate stability of the product and also for potential contamination by pesticides, microbes, etc. The analysis were conducted by Herbal Sciences International Ltd, either ‚Äúin house‚ÄĚ or by using external laboratories were necessary. Where available, accredited methods have been used and the methodology is provided and the accreditation included in the appendices. Where possible and relevant, each analysis has been conducted in duplicate to demonstrate consistency of the results. These analyses were conducted on different batches of the fruit pulp as outlined below. The source of each batch and any blending requirements are described in detail in appendix 2 (confidential).

Baobab dried fruit pulp ‚Äď samples from each of the three batches analysed were obtained from different regions and labeled throughout this application in the following way:

Batch / Region 1 ‚Äď (Labelled as H.S.I.300/3/1)
Batch / Region 2 ‚Äď (Labelled as H.S.I.300/3/2)
Batch / Region 3 ‚Äď (Labelled as H.S.I.300/3/3)

* When each batch was analysed in duplicate, these were written up in the application with the designation A or B. E. g., duplicate analysis of H. S.I.300/3/1 is labelled as H.S.I.300/3/1/A and H. S.I.300/3/1/B

Region 3 is PhytoTrade’s main supplier with sources of Baobab dried fruit pulp from region 1 and 2, being included in the application. This is to show the variation of allowable limits in terms of analysis PhytoTrade would like to include for complying with novel foods approval for this product.

PhytoTrade Africa is also collaborating with other companies in order to offer baobab fruit in different product formats to industry. Because of the pectin content solutions can have undesirable viscosity and cloudiness, and can limit product applications. One product format is a depectinised extract powder. This is manufactured using standard industry processing technologies. Processing steps include (i) mixing baobab fruit pulp powder with water (ii) incubating with standard industry enzymes typically used in fruit clarification and processing (iii) separation using flotation and membrane filtration (iv) drying and concentration using standard practices including vacuum.

Since the composition of these products is similar to Baobab fruit pulp itself, we would like the above products to be included in the approval of this novel food application.

The following analysis were undertaken to provide compositional data on each sample and are described in the following section.

2.2.2 Consistency of Baobab dried fruit pulp

The table below presents the analytical data pertinent to describing the composition of the three PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples and their consistency within the parameters chosen.

Table I
Comparative analytical data on PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit pulp samples

Component

H.S.I
300/3/1/

A

H.S.I
300/3/1/

B

H.S.I
300/3/2/

A

H.S.I
300/3/2/

B

H.S.I
300/3/3/

A

H.S.I
300/3/3/

B

Moisture (loss on
drying) (g/100g)

11.1

11.2

12.4

12.5

13.6

13.7

Protein (g/100g)

3.24

3.15

2.83

2.81

2.04

2.03

Fat (g/100g)

0.5

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.4

0.5

Ash (g/100g)

6.6

6.4

5.7

5.7

5.5

5.5

Total carbohydrate
(g/100g)

78.6

78.9

78.5

78.3

78.5

78.3

Total dietary fibre
(g/100g)

45.8

46.4

53.9

53.7

51.4

52.2

Available
carbohydrate
(g/100g)

32.8

32.5

24.6

24.6

27.1

26.1

Energy (kcal/100g)

149

146

115

116

120

117

Energy (kJ/100g)

631

620

488

492

510

496

Total sugars (as
glucose) (g/100g)

25.3

24.3

17.0

16.9

21.2

20.9

Sodium (mg/100g)

7.74

7.42

7.92

12.2

8.64

8.83

Saturated fats
(g/100g)

0.22

0.20

0.26

0.24

0.21

0.25

Monounsaturated
fats (g/100g)

0.14

0.10

0.21

0.23

0.13

0.16

Polyunsaturated
fats (g/100g)

0.12

0.08

0.10

0.20

0.04

0.07

Vitamin B 1 (HCl)
(mg/100g)

0.11

0.09

0.08

0.08

0.05

0.06

Vitamin B2
(mg/100g)

0.02

0.02

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.02

 

Despite the regional differences and the age of the samples, there are some consistent features that can be gleaned from the data. Moisture content varies by 2% between samples and total ash by 1%. The total fat content of these samples differs by only 0.3g, and the saturated fat content varies by no more than 0.06 g between samples. The total carbohydrate content of the fruit pulp for all samples, ranges between 78.3 to 78.9g, whilst the total sugar content ranges from 16.9 to 25.3g. Total dietary fibre content is high, ranging from 45 to nearly 54%. Vitamin B 1 content shows some variation, but there is very little variation with the vitamin B2 content, 0.01 to 0.03 mg/g.

A thin layer chromatographic fingerprint of the PhytoTrade baobab dried fruit pulp samples was also undertaken (see appendix 3 for details and methodology). Here, it was successfully demonstrated that sterols are present in all three samples (Rf = 0.58) by running against a standard, (3-sitosterol (Rf = 0.58) at the same time. TLC did not however, separate the individual sterols: campesterol, stigamsterol, isofucasterol, and avenasterol. All of these are reported to be present in Adansonia digitata (Gaydou et al, 1982). The tlc fingerprint produced showed consistency throughout all the samples analysed.

 

3.0 Effect of the production process applied to Baobab dried fruit pulp

PhytoTrade Africa’s business focuses on the commercial development of exotic fruits and medicinal plants that are wild harvested in a sustainable manner from non­cultivated plants growing wild in selected areas of Southern Africa PhytoTrade focuses on species that are abundant and that can be collected with minimal environmental impact. Consequently, the fruits and/or seeds are the main parts of the plant that are collected rather than the roots or the bark of a particular species.

With respect to the Baobab tree, PhytoTrade have focused on the fruits of this plant rather than the leaves, roots and stem bark and the collection of the fruit and its processing are described below.

PhytoTrade Africa use a simple process to obtain the fruit pulp. The fruits are collected from the trees, and the hard shells are cracked open and the pulp is separated from the seeds and shell. This is milled, separated into course and fine lots (particle size 3-600¬Ķ) and then bagged. During the processing method, the moisture content falls from an already low value to a resulting material which is around 10 ‚Äď 13% when packaged.

Product preparation:

The Baobab fruit has a hard shell (epicarp) with a velvety covering. Inside the shell is the seed (pericarp and seed) which are hard and dark coloured, and is surrounded by dry, light / cream coloured fruit pulp (mesocarp) forming lumps. Dry, slightly darker fibrous material is also contained within the fruit.

The fruit pulp / mesocarp is what is consumed traditionally, and is fundamentally equivalent to the product PhytoTrade Africa wished to place on the EU market.

The production process to attain the proposed product specification is simple and exclusively mechanical.

The processing steps are:

  • Harvesting of fruits
  • Cracking the hard outer shell and removing the content
  • Mechanical separation of the seed, fibrous material and mesocarp
    • Mesh / screen separation of unwanted fibrous and flaky material from fine, clean mesocarp powder (the baobab fruit pulp powder)
    • Storage in clean food-grade packaging

Batch to batch consistency ‚Äď To minimise fluctuations of the fruit pulp from different areas, within a particular region, the pulp is blended to give a consistent batch/product as described in appendix 2. Specification sheets for each of the different batches are included in the appendices (see appendix 4).

 

3.1 Stability of Baobab fruit pulp

To demonstrate the stability of the product PhytoTrade analysed samples from the same regions that have been stored for over a year and compared these to recently harvested material from the same areas. The results and conclusions from this are detailed in appendix 5.

 

4.0 History of the organism used as the source of Baobab dried fruit pulp

In this section the harvesting methods used to obtain the raw material are discussed and also includes methods of transport and storage conditions. These are achieved by using Phytotrade’s quality control system as described below:

 

4.1 PhytoTrade Africa‚Äôs Pre-Qualified Supplier (PQS) system as quality control (1) Raw material supplies ‚Äď volumes and quality

Members are assessed to ensure they can supply the correct volumes and quality to the selected market. PQS of baobab fruit pulp are required to have training in quality control programmes for rural harvesters. This includes a system of grading to eliminate any inappropriate quality such as material harvested too early, or too late in the season, for the supply chain. Rural packaging, storage, and transportation must meet agreed standards. The standards are based on accepted raw material supply practices for industries such as out-sourced production of chilly and peppers for paprika product for the EU market.

Traceability

An internal control system capable of meeting requirements of ‚Äúorganic‚ÄĚ certification is required. Individual harvesters are trained and registered, and comprise supply groups with co-ordinators or ‚Äúchairs‚ÄĚ of producer groups acting as contact and control points. Material is traceable from storage warehouse back to individual harvesters through practices such as supplying numbered food-grade plastic bags and other audit trail methodologies common in food and pharmaceutical raw material supply chains. The traceability systems are required to be formal and documented for inspection purposes.

(2)   Collation practices

Warehousing and bulking-up facilities are inspected for cleanliness and appropriateness for supply into food chains. Pest control systems are required. Minimum and maximum temperatures, moisture and other relevant conditions are inspected.

(3)   Processing

The suitability of processing methods and equipment is inspected and required to conform to approved mechanical processes. Approved equipment includes de-hullers, hammer mills, shakers, and sifters / mesh screens.

All processing steps must accommodate traceability requirements through batch numbers for each production run.

(4)   Packaging

Only food grade packing materials are approved for use, and are monitored in the PQS system.

(5)   Shipping

Only producers with efficient International export and shipping facilities are approved by the PQS system.

(6)   Handling orders and logistics

PQS members are required to understand all elements of handling orders and other commercial trade logistics.

(7)   Conformity to PhytoTrade Africa’s Fair Trade and Environmental Charters

All members sign PhytoTrade Africa’s Fair Trade and Environmental charters. PQS members are required to demonstrate fundamental adherence with the principles and practices of the charters.

(8)   Exclusivity arrangements with selected partners and clients

PQS members are only allowed to supply export material to PhytoTrade Africa­approved partners and clients. Approved partners and clients are selected on the basis of, amongst other factors, their quality control systems. For example, they would be required to be registered HACCP suppliers with systems required to sell into the EU market.

Baobab’s traditional role in the diet at locations outside the community is discussed in the history of use section in 6.0. Further details of the use of Baobab fruit pulp outside of the community are described in appendix 7a along with further details on the abundance of the material in Southern Africa.

 

5.0 Anticipated Intake of Baobab dried fruit pulp and extent of use

5.1 Introduction

PhytoTrade plan to use Baobab dried fruit pulp in such products as smoothies, cereal bars and other health food products. The anticipated intake of the pulp in such products will be around 5- 10% depending on the particular food product in question. These levels a have been determined by a number of experiments that are outlined below. Further details are available in appendix 6.

Leatherhead Food International carried out preliminary work to determine the potential applications of the pulp as an ingredient in food and drink products. This is a summary of their findings on the use of baobab fruit pulp in smoothies and fruit bars.

 

5.2 Smoothie Drink Products

To identify the optimum level for smoothie drinks using baobab dried fruit pulp, a series of baobab fruit pulp solutions were prepared. An evaluation of these smoothie products showed that the drinks with 6% and 8% by weight fruit pulp were by the far best.

 

5.3 Cereal Bar Products

A series of fruit bar formulations containing different quantities of baobab dried fruit pulp were prepared. These were produced by a dry mix process.

An assessment of the cereal bars demonstrated that 5-10% by weight fruit pulp produced acceptable fruit bars with good flavour and a chewy texture.

 

5.4 Anticipated levels with regard to the medicinal effects of Baobab

Since PhytoTrade seek to use Baobab dried fruit pulp as a food ingredient, literature searches were performed to explore the range of medicinal properties of the fruit and what levels of ingestion were required in order to have the described medicinal effects. These are described more fully in section 6.2. The conclusions reached with regard to the known medicinal effects of Baobab dried fruit pulp, are that in the anticipated levels of use, no medicinal effects are expected to be observed.

 

5.5 Conclusions

PhytoTrade plan to incorporate approximately 6-10g of baobab dried fruit pulp in 100g smoothies and 10-15g in a 100g fruit bar and similar food products. The Leatherhead Food results clearly demonstrate that these values are acceptable for the incorporation of baobab pulp at these levels. Further uses include a de-pectinated

Baobab fruit pulp and the use of the fruit pulp in other food products such as biscuits, confectionary, and other related food products.

 

6.0 Information from previous human exposure to Baobab dried fruit pulp or its source

This section details the history of use of Baobab in the EU and in other parts of the world. The possible ant nutritional and potential toxic factors are discussed more fully in section 8.0

 

6.1 Traditional Food Uses of Baobab Fruit Pulp

The pulp of the Baobab fruit is reported to have numerous uses by the indigenous people of Africa. (Lewicki, 1974). Bosch et al (2004) reported that the fruit had a soft, white, edible and nutritious flesh called monkey bread. This fruit is eaten as a sweet and used to make ice-cream (Bosch et al, 2004).

The Hausi-speaking farmers and Fulani cattle owners, who live in the savannah region of Northern Nigeria, produce an emulsion from the fruit pulp by removing the seeds and fibres, kneading in cold water, and straining this emulsion through a sieve (Nicol 1957). The resulting white or whitish yellow fluid is used to dilute thick guinea corn to a thin gruel, a traditional morning or midday meal (Bosch et al, 2004), Nicol, 1957). This emulsion was also used by the Fulanis to adulterate their milk (Bosch et 2004, Erosmele et al, 1991, Nicol, 1957).

Several authors have reported that the fruit pulp is used to make a refreshing drink (Bosch et al 2004, Carr 1955, Nicol, 1957). In Sudan, this drink is called ‘gubdi’ and made from cold water to preserve the vitamins (Bosch et al, 2004). Amongst the Hausi farmers, the baobab fruit juice mixture is a popular drink and is available during the hot times of the year (Nicol, 1957).

The baobab fruit pulp is reported to be used in cooking. Amongst some African people the baobab is sometimes called the ‘cream of tartar’ tree because the acidic nature of the fruit (Carr, 1955). The dried pulp can be used in baking as alternative for cream of tartar (Bosch et al, 2004).

Finally, Diop et al (1988) reported that the pulp was rich in calcium and this was the main reason that the baobab was largely consumed by pregnant women and children in Senegal. A study of pregnant women in Gambia, by Prentice et al (1993), reported that eating the fruit pulp in season (December to April) without the seeds once a day, contributed 30mg/day calcium to the diet.

Further surveys on the use of Baobab in Africa and any local reported toxic effects have also been undertaken by PhytoTrade themselves:

A questionnaire was administered to people attending the PhytoTrade Africa AGM on 30th May 2006. The objective was to try and establish from people with direct knowledge of the uses of Baobab fruit the following (i) what format the fruit is consumed in (ii) who consumes the products (iii) the frequency of the consumption (iv) the quantities in which it is consumed and (v) whether there are any known toxicity / safety concerns. It is acknowledged that the procedure and questionnaire do not constitute a highly scientific and authoritative study on the subject. However, the responses confirm what is learned from the literature. This includes:

  • Baobab fruit is widely consumed in a variety of formats wherever the resource occurs
  • The old, young, healthy, infirm and pregnant women are known to consume Baobab fruit

‚ÄĘ The product is considered healthy

  • There are no known toxicity / safety concerns with the consumption of Baobab fruit products. The only response that could be cause for concern seems to be when the product is consumed in excess, it can encourage diarrhoea. This is common with many fruits. The above questionnaires are detailed in the appendices (appendix 7a edited questionnaire on history and safe use of Baobab fruit).

A further questionnaire, with similar objectives, was administered to a different audience. This audience comprised of professional institutions and authoritative sources of independent of PhytoTrade Africa. The results of the process are to found in the appendices (appendix 7a_toxicity and use questionnaire of Baobab fruit).

PhytoTrade also undertook a detailed literature search on the history of use of Baobab fruit pulp. Numerous references were found demonstrating its widespread use not only in Africa, but other continents such as Asia and Australia. The details of this are presented in appendix 7b, but the main findings are summarized here:

Further details of historical use

  • Baobab fruit, also known as ‘pain de singe’ is sold in areas of Paris where the local population is made up of West and Central African immigrants.
  • Most of the baobab fruit appears to come via a trade route with Senegal and possibly Mali.
  • The Ivory Coast is also believed to another source of importation.

Use in Europe

  • The Baobab fruit company is a major supplier in Europe of Baobab fruit (www.baobabfruitco.com).
  • Amongst the uses of Baobab fruit in Europe is as an ingredient in the pills known as ‘terra lemnia sigilatta.
  • Baobab fruit supplements have been endorsed by Italian cyclists, a Formula one driver, and AC Milan football players.

Use in Africa

‚ÄĘ Responding to a food frequency questionnaire in Ouassala, Western Mali,

Households reported that Baobab fruit was consumed on a regular basis.

  • Countless references to its use as refreshing drink and a nutritional food.
  • Used in baptismal ceremonies as an ingredient for traditional dishes.
    • Pregnant women and children singled out as people most likely to consume Baobab fruit.

Use in the Rest of the World

  • In Canada, Baobab is listed as a substance in cosmetics and care products regulated under the Foods and Drug act between January 1, 1987 and September 13, 2001.
  • In India, Adansonia digitata is widespread and similarly consumed by Indians.
  • In Australia, Adansonia gregorii, a closely related species to A.digitata was considered by the Australian Food Standards agency as ‘not novel’ and given food status in March 2005, presumably indicating its safe us in the Australian community References and further details can be found in appendix 7b.

 

6.2 Medicinal uses of Baobab Fruit Pulp 6.2.1 Folklore

All parts of the baobab tree are believed to have medicinal properties according to traditional folklore (Haerdi 1964, Kerhero 1974, Kokwaro 1976, Watt and Breyer­Brandwijk 1962).

Of particular interest is the use of baobab fruit and seeds to treat dysentery as reported by both Kerhero and Watt/Breyer-Brandwijk. This is covered by the work of Tal-Dia et al (see rehydration 6.3.4), where dried fruit pulp was used as an alternative to produce a rehydration fluid in children affected by acute diarrhea. The main advantage here was the fact that the baobab fruit pulp powder was available in the local area and did not have to airlifted into the region by aid agencies such as WHO.

Watt/Breyer-Brandwijk also report that baobab has febrifuge properties but do not offer any data on the amount of fruit consumed to treat this condition. Ferbrifuge is another word for anti-pyresis, and will be discussed later (see 6.3.3 Anti­inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-pyretic properties) However, whilst Baobab fruit pulp may lower elevated body temperature, normal body temperature is not affected. (Ramadan et al, 1994).

 

6.3 Scientific studies

In this section various scientific research work that has been undertaken on Baobab is reviewed. Where applicable it is demonstrated that at the level of intended use, Baobab dried fruit pulp is not expected to display any medicinal effects.

6.3.1 Trypanocidal properties

Atawodi et al (2003) compared the trypanocidal effects of Adansonia digitata with the commercial drug DIMANAL in vitro. The results demonstrated that the root extract showed no activity with the equivalent of 10g of dried root material, and with 20g of dried root material, there was a small effect, but this was 2 1/2 times weaker than

DIMINAL at the same concentration. However, since the root of Adansonia and not fruit pulp was tested, these effects anti-trypanicidal are not expected to be observed in PhytoTrades dried Baobab fruit product.

6.3.2 Anti-oxidant properties

Manfredni et al (2002) examined the anti-oxidant properties of the fruit pulp from Adansonia digitata and compared this with several other fruits including orange, strawberry, kiwi, and a standard, grape seed extract.

The results demonstrated that Adansonia digitata fruit pulp had similar in vitro anti­oxidant properties to the standard grape seed extract (oligomeric proanthocyanidin) and over 100 times the anti-oxidant activity of oranges.

6.3.3 Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti -pyretic properties

Ramadan et al (1994) demonstrated that the water extract of the fruit pulp of Adansonia digitata had similar anti-inflammatory properties to phenylbutazone in rats (see section 8.3 for more details).

Extrapolating these results in a 70kg human would give a comparable dosage of phenylbutazone as 1.05g and baobab pulp as 28g. However, the effective dose of phenylbutazone in humans is 300mg (Bird et al, 1983) and this is approximately 2/3 less than the 1.05g figure extrapolated above. Therefore, PhytoTrade’s Baobab pulp should produce effects at 1/3 of 28, which is approximately 9g.

Taking into account the concentration of the fruit pulp by Ramadan and the water content of the PhytoTrade product as approximately 13% by weight, this produces a value of 12 to 18g of baobab fruit pulp that would potential be needed to observe any anti-inflammatory effects in humans and this is at a much higher level than PhytoTrade plan to use in various food products.

In the same paper, the analgesic effect of baobab fruit pulp was compared to aspirin. The 400mg/kg fruit pulp extract showed a slight analgesic effect. Extrapolating this to a 70kg human gives a comparable dosage of aspirin as 3.5g and dried baobab fruit pulp as 28g. However, the effective dose of aspirin is 325mg (BAYER website page) and this is 1/10 of the extrapolated value. Therefore the baobab pulp could produce effects at 2.8g. However, taking into account the concentration of the fruit pulp by Ramadan and the water content of the PhytoTrade product as 13% by weight provides a theoretical value of around 3.8 to 4.2g of baobab fruit pulp that would need to be ingested to observe any effects. However this is only a theoretical extrapolation and with respect to the in vivo analgesic effect, one cannot conclude that this analgesia will be observed in humans at the estimated levels, due to differences in both absorption and metabolism kinetics of rodents and man.

The antipyretic effect of the fruit pulp extract in the same paper (Ramadan et al, 1994) was also compared to aspirin in rats. The results showed a marked anti-pyretic effect at both 400mg/kg and 800 mg/kg concentration levels of the extract that was similar to aspirin. However, since anti-pyresis lowers elevated body temperature and does not lower normal body temperature (Avery Complete Guide to Medicines, 2001) these effects are not expected to effect rodents or humans who have normal body temperatures.

6.3.4 Rehydration Treatment

Tal-Dia et al (1997) compared the efficacy of a local solution made from the fruit of the baobab against the WHO standard solution for treatment of dehydration as a result of acute diarrhea. The ‚Äúpain de singe‚ÄĚ as this baobab solution is known locally, is made up in 1 litre of water with 5 sugar cubes and 14 spoons of powdered baobab fruit. This is approximately equivalent to 36.4g of dried Baobab fruit powder.

Although the WHO solution was superior, there was no statistical difference between these two solutions. No medicinal claims were made about the baobab fruit pulp in treating the causes of the acute diarrhea. The solution was simply used to re-hydrate the patients being treated.

6.3.5 Anti-viral properties

Hudson et al (2000a) demonstrated the antibiotic and antiviral properties of both Adansonia root and leaf extracts against a range of viruses and bacteria. Hudson et al (2000b) were able to show that both root and leaf extracts were effective viricidal agents against herpes at levels <62.5 ug/ml in vitro. Hussain et al (1991) had previously confirmed the antibiotic potential of Adansonia root extracts against completely different strains of bacteria. As can be seen all these anti-viral and anti­bacterial effects were found in extracts of Adansonia leaves and root, but not the fruit pulp.

6.3.6 Hepatoprotection

Al-Qawari et al (2003) has examined the hepatoprotective effects of Baobab fruit pulp in rats exposed to carbon tetrachloride. Here, the fruit pulp and seeds were soaked in cold water for 24 hours and filtered. This filtrate was collected and freeze dried.

Table II

Hepatoprotective effects of Baobab: Dose, route and length of treatment

Treatment

Dose, route and length of
treatment

Saline

1ml saline orally for 5 days

Extract

1 mg/kg orally 15 days

Carbon tetrachloride in saline

0.5ml/kg iv + 1ml saline for 5
days

Carbon tetrachloride + extract

1 mg/kg extract orally 1 day,
then extract + 0.5ml/kg carbon
tetrachloride iv for 5 days,
followed by extract for 15 days

 

Several different enzyme markers were used to measure liver damage. ALT (alanine transferase), AST (aspartate transferase), and ALP (alkaline phosphatase) are indicators of hepatic disease. Alb (albumin) is used to indicate severity of the disease.
Table III

Hepatoprotective effects of Baobab: Activities and markers

Treatment

ALT

AST

ALP

ALB

Saline

48.43

+/-

1.03

103.1

+/-

3.2

137.3

+/-

1.1

1.88

+/-

0.01

Extract

45.78

+/-

1.19

110.4

+/-

2.6

135.9

+/-

1.5

1.99

+/-

0.01

Carbon
tetrachloride in
saline

85.60

+/-

1.01

297.4

+/-

1.6

287.4

+/-

1.6

1.31

+/-

0.03

Carbon
tetrachloride +
extract

50.31

+/-1.98

126.6

+/-

1.8

149.5

+/-

1.8

1.80

+/-

0.03

 

These results clearly demonstrate a potential hepatoprotective effect for baobab fruit pulp provided the extract is given before CCl4 induced liver damage is evident. Extrapolating these results to a human weighing 70kg would provide a value of around 70mg for any effects to be observed. Ingestion of Baobab fruit pulp at the levels in used in various food products could therefore potentially have hepatoprotective effects, although it is not clear how relevant these potential effects are when extrapolating from rats into humans.

 

6.4 Conclusion

Numerous medicinal effects and ethnic uses of Baobab fruit pulp have been discussed in the literature. However, the data from these reports do not appear to support any medicinal effects occurring when the fruit pulp is consumed at the levels PhytoTrade plan to use. These are 6-10g in a smoothie of 10-15g in a fruit bar and other similar food products. From the above information, and detailed literature searches on the safety of Baobab fruit (See appendix 8) no adverse long or short term health concerns have been reported with using specifically, dried Baobab fruit pulp. Potential toxic factors are however discussed in the safety section of this application section (see section 8).

 

7.0 Nutritional information on Baobab dried fruit pulp

The fruit pulp of Baobab has a range of nutritional benefits including among others high ascorbic acid content, high pectin content, linoleic acid, and several B vitamins. These are discussed in detail below:

 

7.1 Ascorbic Acid Content

The ascorbic acid content of baobab fruit pulp has been compared with oranges by
Manfredini et al (2002), and shown to be at least at least three times higher (150-499
mg/100g vs 46mg/100g). The current EC RDA value is given as 60mg/day and so 10g

of fruit pulp would provide at least 25% the recommended daily amount of ascorbic acid.

Table IV
Analysis results of vitamin C content in PhytoTrade’s Baobab fruit pulp samples

Sample

Vitamin C content (mg/100g)

H.S.I 300/3/1/A

158

H.S.I 300/3/1 /B

163

H.S.I 300/3/2/A

93

H.S.I 300/3/2/B

82.6

H.S.I 300/3/3/A

74.1

H.S.I 300/3/3/B

76.2

 

Duplicate analysis of the three PhytoTrade baobab dried fruit pulp samples, produced a range of vitamin C content from 74 to 163 mg/100g of fruit pulp (see appendix 9) for more details and the methodology used). These values fall in the lower range of those figures quoted by Manfredini et al (2002), but are still higher those found in oranges. From the figures in table IV, PhytoTrade’s product contains 1.6 to 3.5 times the ascorbic acid levels of oranges.

 

7.2 Pectin Content

The dried fruit pulp contains a high level of pectins; indeed the value has been found to be as high as 56% for water soluble pectin content by weight (Sanghi 1978 and Nour et al 1980). These indigestible but soluble fibers are thought to be an important component of our diet.

Table V
Analysis results of pectin content in PhytoTrade Baobab Fruit Pulp samples

Sample                                                                                                                                               Pectin (g/100g fruit pulp)

H.S.I 300/3/1

H.S.I 300/3/2

23.4

33.8

H.S.I 300/3/3

30.0

Duplicate analysis of the three PhytoTrade baobab dried fruit pulp samples (see Table V above), found pectin levels in the range of 23.4 to 33.8% by weight (see appendix 10 for more details and the methodology used), which is similar to previous published reports described above. Although not as high as the figures quoted by Sanghi (1978) and Nour et al (1980) compared to oranges, PhytoTrade’s baobab fruit pulp still has over 9 to 14 times more soluble fibre than for example, Florida oranges (4.4g fibre/185g fruit; nutritiondata.com).

 

7.3 Fatty Acid Content

Linoleic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid and is an essential fatty acid and natural sources of this fatty acid include sunflower oil and safflower oil. In safflower oil, linoleic acid constitutes 75% of the oil. Compared to oranges where no linoleic acid is detected (nutritiondata.com figures ‚Äď Florida orange) there is 2.3mg/100g of oil in baobab fruit pulp (Glew et al, 1997). Linoleic acid is the precursor of gamma linolenic acid which is also an omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Levels of this fatty acid are of the order 15mg/100g fruit pulp (Glew et al, 1997).

PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit pulp was analysed to assess the levels of these compounds in their product:

Table VI
Analysis results of Fatty Acid content in PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples

Fatty Acid H.S.I 300/3/1/A (% total fatty acid) H.S.I 300/3/1/B (% total fatty acid) H.S.I 300/3/2/A (% total fatty acid) H.S.I 300/3/2/B (% total fatty acid) H.S.I 300/3/3/A (% total fatty acid) H.S.I 300/3/3/B (% total fatty acid)
Alpha- linolenic acid 20.1 17.5 7.6 8.1 10.4 11.4
Linoleic acid 13.3 13.5 19.9 20.4 18.5 20.0
Oleic acid 19.7 20.6 31.0 31.0 24.9 24.7

 

Table VI is a summary of the fatty acid profile of duplicate samples from the batches of PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp. The full range of acids analysed for are included in appendix 11. The range of alpha linolenic acid content is 7.6 to 20.1 % of total fatty acids and the range of linoleic acid is much smaller, 13.3 to 20.4 % of total fatty acids. Despite the variation between the individual fatty acids in the samples, the overall percentage of essential fatty acid content, i.e. linolenic acid + linoleic acid + oleic acid, is between 51% (H.S.I 300/3/1/B) to just under 60% (H.S.I 300/3/2/B) of the total content.

In PhytoTrade products, linoleic acid content was found to 13.3 to 20.4% by weight. This is significantly higher than the figures quoted by Glew et al (1997) who stated that there baobab samples contained just 2.3% by weight. There is no obvious answer as to why there is such a large variation, although Glew et al (1 997) reported that the boron trifluoride/methanol method was used produce their fatty acid derivatives, whereas in the analysis performed on PhytoTrade’s product, sodium methoxide/methanol was used.

The omega n-3 fatty acid precursor, alpha linolenic acid is also present in high amounts, as is the omega n-9 fatty acid precursor, oleic acid. This suggests that dried Baobab fruit pulp provides an excellent source of these essential fatty acids.

 

7.4 Nutritional constituents

As described earlier, PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit pulp also contains a number of common nutritional components as shown in table VII below.

Table VII
Analysis results of the main nutritional components found in PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit pulp
samples

H.S.I
300/3/1/

A

H.S.I
300/3/1/

B

H.S.I
300/3/2/

A

H.S.I
300/3/2/

B

H.S.I
300/3/3/

A

H.S.I
300/3/3/

B

Moisture (loss on
drying) (g/100g)

11.1

11.2

12.4

12.5

13.6

13.7

Protein (g/100g)

3.24

3.15

2.83

2.81

2.04

2.03

Fat (g/100g)

0.5

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.4

0.5

Ash (g/100g)

6.6

6.4

5.7

5.7

5.5

5.5

Total carbohydrate
(g/100g)

78.6

78.9

78.5

78.3

78.5

78.3

Total dietary fibre
(g/100g)

45.8

46.4

53.9

53.7

51.4

52.2

Available
carbohydrate
(g/100g)

32.8

32.5

24.6

24.6

27.1

26.1

Energy (kcal/100g)

149

146

115

116

120

117

Energy (kJ/100g)

631

620

488

492

510

496

Total sugars (as
glucose) (g/100g)

25.3

24.3

17.0

16.9

21.2

20.9

Sodium (mg/100g)

7.74

7.42

7.92

12.2

8.64

8.83

Saturated fats
(g/100g)

0.22

0.20

0.26

0.24

0.21

0.25

Monounsaturated
fats (g/100g)

0.14

0.10

0.21

0.23

0.13

0.16

Polyunsaturated
fats (g/100g)

0.12

0.08

0.10

0.20

0.04

0.07

 

The variation of these components has been described earlier in this application (see consistency of Baobab dried fruit pulp in section 2.2). Full details and methodology can be found in appendix 12.

 

7.5 Vitamin B Content

A range of B vitamins are also present in the fruit pulp including thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Values are presented below per 100g of fruit.

Table VIII
Comparison of B vitamin content in Baobab fruit from various sources

B Vitamins

Baobab fruit pulp
(Baobab Fruit Co.)

(mg)

Florida oranges
(nutritiondata.com

)
(mg)

EC RDA values
(mg)

Thiamine(B1)

0.038

0.12

1.40

Riboflavin(B2)

0.06

0.06

1.60

Niacin (B3)

2.16

0.38

18

Pyridoxine (B6)

2.13

0.38

2

 

PhytoTrade’s samples compared favourably with the literature values as can be seen from the following table:

Table VIIIa
Analysis of Vitamin B levels in PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit samples

A comparison of the PhytoTrade analysis results (table VIIIa) with the those quoted by the Baobab fruit company (see table VIII) shows that all the PhytoTrade samples have higher vitamin B 1 contents but lower vitamin B2 content (see appendix 12).

 

7.6 Trace Elements

A comparison of the data for PhytoTrade’s product shows that phosphorous and calcium levels are in broad agreement with the figures of Glew et al (1997), whilst being higher compared to Kalenga Saka et al (1994). Magnesium levels for the PhytoTrade product are 15 to 40% lower than either of fruit pulps examined by Kalenga Saka et al (1994) and Glew et al (1997). There are no values for the potassium levels from the Glew et al (1997) paper; however, the PhytoTrade fruit pulp has 15 to 30% lower potassium than the Kalenga Saka et al (1994) sample. The levels of iron are comparable with Kalenga Saka et al (1994) producing a median figure of 65 mg/kg. However, the iron levels are much higher than those detected by Glew et al (1997).

Vitamin B 1 (HCl)
(mg/100g)

0.11

0.09

0.08

0.08

0.05

0.06

Vitamin B2
(mg/100g)

0.02

0.02

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.02

H.S.I

300/3/1/A

H.S.I

300/3/1/B

H.S.I

300/3/2/A

H.S.I

300/3/2/B

H.S.I

300/3/3/A

H.S.I

300/3/3/B

There are also lower levels of sodium in PhytoTrade’s product compared to both the other samples, nearly 40% lower than the sample of Glew at al (1997) and other 6 times lower than the sample of Kalenga Saka et al (1 994)

Table IX
Comparison of Trace Metal Analysis Results with data from Kalenga Saka et al (1994) and Glew et al
(1997)

Trace elements

Data from Kalenga
Saka et al (1994)
(mg/kg)

Data from Glew et
al (1997)
(mg/kg)

Herbal Sciences
International ltd
analysis data
(mg/kg)

P

450

733

561-733

Ca

1156

3410

2570-3700

Mg

2090

2090

1260-1790

K

28364

20100-23900

Na

188

54.6

7-31

Fe

58

17

39.5-91.3

 

As can be seen from the above table, the variation in phosphorous and potassium levels is relatively small. The same is also true for the copper and zinc levels (see appendix 13). Sodium levels are of the order 7 to 12 mg/kg, apart from one very high reading of 31 mg/kg in sample H.S.I. 300/3/1. The remaining elements, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium show some variation in content. H.S.I. 300/3/1 has the highest magnesium and manganese levels, H.S.I. 300/3/2 has the highest calcium levels, and H.S.I. 300/3/3 has the highest iron levels (see appendix 13 for more details and the methodology used).

 

7.7 Heavy Metal Analysis

PhytoTrade’s product was analysed for four main heavy metals: Mercury, Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic and the analytical results were compared with the EU regulation standards for content of heavy metals in foodstuffs. In UK law, arsenic in foodstuffs is set at 1mg/kg (Arsenic in Food Law 1959, as amended). Clearly, all the PhytoTrade samples show levels of arsenic below this standard. Cadmium is regulated by EU Law under EC/466/2001 where the level of this heavy metal is set at 0.05 mg/kg wet weight. Once again, the levels are well below this safety standard. Mercury levels are governed by EU law under the regulations EC/466/2001 and recently amended as EC/78/2005. These levels are set at the lowest level of 0.5mg/kg wet weight. All fruit samples are below this standard. Lead levels in food are also governed by EC/466/2001, but this was recently amended with SANCO/15/2004 rev 1. The maximum permitted level for lead is 0.2 mg/kg in dried vine fruit, such as sultanas, raisins and currants. There does not appear to be a level specifically set for fresh or other dried fruits. The maximum 0.2 mg/kg level for lead is currently under review as detailed in SANCO/15/2004 rev 1 whilst more data is collected.

Table X
Analysis Data of Heavy Metals Content in PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit samples

sample

Arsenic
(mg/kg)

Cadmium
(mg/kg)

Lead
(mg/kg)

Mercury
(mg/kg)

H.S.I
300/3/1/A

< 0.10

< 0.010

0.28

< 0.004

H. S.I
300/3/1/B

< 0.10

< 0.010

0.36

< 0.004

H. S.I
300/3/2/A

0.26

0.010

0.19

< 0.004

H.S.I
300/3/1/B

0.28

0.010

0.13

<0.004

H. S.I
300/3/3/A

< 0.10

< 0.010

0.09

< 0.004

H. S.I
300/3/3/B

< 0.10

< 0.010

0.08

<0.004

 

The full details including the methodology are to be found in appendix 14.

 

7.8 Amino acid content

PhytoTrade’s samples were analysed (see appendix 15) for a range of common amino acids as portrayed in table VIII below:

Table XI
Analysis of amino acid composition in PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit samples

Amino acid
(total)

H.S.I
300/3/1/A

H.S.I
300/3/1/B

H.S.I
300/3/2/A

H.S.I
300/3/2/B

H.S.I
300/3/3/A

H.S.I
300/3/3/B

Tryptophan
(g/100g)

0.05

0.05

0.04

0.04

0.03

0.03

Aspartic acid
(g/100g)

0.34

0.34

0.26

0.27

0.2

0.2

Serine
(g/100g)

0.34

0.34

0.27

0.33

0.23

0.28

Glutamic acid
(g/100g)

0.37

0.39

0.36

0.38

0.29

0.29

glycine(g/100
g)

0.18

0.19

0.16

0.17

0.13

0.14

Histidine
(g/100g)

0.07

0.07

0.06

0.07

0.06

0.07

Arginine
(g/100g)

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.1

0.1

 

26

Amino acid
(total)

H.S.I
300/3/1/A

H.S.I
300/3/1/B

H.S.I
300/3/2/A

H.S.I
300/3/2/B

H.S.I
300/3/3/A

H.S.I
300/3/3/B

Threonine
(g/100g)

0.17

0.18

0.14

0.16

0.12

0.13

Alanine
(g/100g)

0.19

0.19

0.16

0.17

0.13

0.14

Proline
(g/100g)

0.22

0.25

0.2

0.21

0.17

0.16

Cystine
(g/100g)

0.1

0.09

0.07

0.08

0.05

0.05

Tyrosine
(g/100g)

0.11

0.11

0.08

0.08

0.07

0.08

Valine
(g/100g)

0.14

0.15

0.11

0.11

0.09

0.1

Methionine
(g/100g)

0.04

0.04

0.03

0.04

0.02

0.03

Lysine
(g/100g)

0.16

0.17

0.12

0.12

0.1

0.1

Iso-leucine
(g/100g)

0.1

0.12

0.08

0.08

0.07

0.07

Leucine
(g/100g)

0.18

0.19

0.16

0.16

0.13

0.14

Phenylalanine
(g/100g)

0.16

0.17

0.15

0.15

0.12

0.12

 

Despite the variation in age of the batches and the different geographical harvesting areas of the PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples, the amino acid analysis produced consistent results. The only notable exceptions were with aspartic acid and glutamic acid content where the variation across all samples was 0.2 to 0.34 g/100g and 0.29-0.39 g/100g of Baobab dried fruit pulp respectively. See appendix 17 for more details of the methodology used and the analytical results.

 

7.9 Microbiological Content

All three PhytoTrade samples were screened for a range of microbiological contaminants (see table XII below):

Table XII
Averaged values of PhytoTrade’s Microbiological Analysis Results

Microbiological
test

H.S.I 300/3/1

H.S.I 300/3/2

H.S.I 300/3/3

Total viable count
(cfu/g)

3.77 x 103

250

3.20 x 104

Coliforms
(presumptive)
(cfu/g)

< 10

< 10

< 10

E.coli (presumptive)
(cfu/g)

< 10

< 10

< 10

Staphylococcus
aureus
(cfu/g)

< 20

< 20

< 20

Faecal streptococci
(cfu/g)

< 20

< 20

< 20

Yeasts
(cfu/g)

< 20

< 20

< 20

Moulds
(cfu/g)

3.49 x 103

570

1.19 x 104

Salmonella sp.
(/25g)

Not detected

Not detected

Not detected

 

All samples from the three batches of PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp showed low levels of Coliforms (presumptive), E.coli (presumptive), Staphylococcus aureus, Faecal streptococci, and also the Yeasts, and Salmonella sp. were within acceptable safety limits ( E.coli and Salmonella levels governed by EC/2073/2005). Total viable count levels for all three samples are within the safety limit of < 105 cfu’s for dried fruit (Working Group Document, Communicable Diseases and Public Health 3 pp163-167 [2000]). Mould levels were also detected at relatively low levels. The methodology and details of the results can be found in appendix 16.

 

7.10 Pesticides Residues Content

All three baobab batches were subjected to multi-residue screen for pesticide content. The samples from the three Baobab dried fruit pulp batches were mixed together into one sample and this produced the following results (see table XIII below):

Table XIII
Results of PhytoTrade’s Baobab Fruit Pulp Multi-Residue Pesticide Screen

Class of pesticide

Residue detected (mg/kg)

organophosphorous

<

0.05 mg/kg

organochlorine

<

0.02 mg/kg

organonitrogen

<

0.05 mg/kg

dicarboximides

<

0.05 mg/kg

strobilurin

<

0.05 mg/kg

triazine

<

0.05 mg/kg

pyrethoids

<

0.05 mg/kg

 

The multi-residue screen results have been resolved into the main classes of pesticides as shown above. For all classes of pesticides, the results were below the detection levels of this screen and within the guidelines laid down by The Pesticides Regulations 2006 (Statutory Instrument 2006 no.985).

The PhytoTrade Baobab fruit is wild harvested, so no pesticides are expected to found (see appendix 17 for more details and the methodology used). These results are in agreement with previous data on other species that PhytoTrade, ‚Äúwild harvest‚ÄĚ and which also failed to contain any pesticide residues within the limits specified.

 

7.11 Anti-nutrients in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Liener (1980) reports that there are four main classes of anti-nutrients in foodstuffs. These are protein inhibitors, glycosides, phenols, and a miscellaneous class which includes anti-vitamins, anti-enzymes, and toxic fatty acids.

The analysis of the PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples has specifically looked for the presence of four such anti-nutrients. Cyanide analysis of the fruit pulp involved examining the aqueous extract and an hydrolysis extract to determine whether any cyanogenic glycosides or free cyanide were present. No cyanide was detected at the limit < 5 mg/kg (see appendix 21 determination of cyanide content in Baobab dried fruit for more details)

All the PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples were tested for alkaloid content by comparison with known alkaloid standards. Thin layer chromatography analysis revealed no alkaloids present at the detection limit of 10 ¬Ķg/g of fruit pulp (for more details see the safety section of the application).

Finally, the PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples were tested for the presence of potentially toxic fatty acids. Erucic acid has been shown to have a variety of health impacts in studies, and foods containing high levels of this fatty acid are considered unfit for consumption. The EC limit for erucic acid in foods has a statutory limit of < 5% total content in oil (The Erucic Acid in Food Regulations, 1977).

The fatty acid analysis of all three samples showed levels below the detection limit of < 0.10% (see appendix 11-determination of fatty acids in Baobab dried fruit pulp by gas chromatography).

Cyclopropene fatty acids were also analysed for. These are known to be present in Baobab seed oil and can display toxic effects in animal models fed a diet, very high in these cyclopropene fatty acids (Bezard et al, 1993a, Bezard et al, 1993b, Gaydou et al, 1995, Bezard et al, 1996). This is discussed more fully in section 8.4.The PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples showed a maximum level of 0.26 mg/g of these compounds, well below the limit expected to show any toxic effects to humans – see appendix 18 for more details of the analysis.

In conclusion, several classes of anti-nutrients were tested for in PhytoTrade Baobab dried fruit pulp samples and all were found at very low levels.

 

8.0 Safety Profile and Toxicity Studies of Baobab dried fruit pulp

The following information is provided on Baobab dried fruit pulp to support its safe consumption in the community.

 

8.1 Introduction – Literature surveys and history of use

Baobab is widely consumed in many parts of Africa and this has been detailed in section 6.0. Also PhytoTrade have conducted extensive literature searches on any adverse effects or any potential toxicity reports of the pulp – see appendices 7a and 8. No mention was found with regard to Baobab fruit pulp in these searches, supporting the safe history of use of this product.

The following studies are also included to support the safety and lack of toxicity of Baobab dried fruit pulp in the amounts intended for use.

 

8.2 Skin test- Irritation

To determine whether baobab fruit pulp (from a different source from Phytotrade’s product) would produce any irritant effects, Marzatico (2001), exposed 25 volunteers to a 10% dilution of the fruit pulp solution using a modified Draize test.

The modified Draize test involved subjecting the human volunteers to a continuous induction period with patch exchange 3 times a week until a total of 10 patches had been applied. The patches were reapplied to the same site, and only if moderate inflammation had developed, the next patch was moved to an adjacent skin site. The human volunteers were challenged on naive skin two weeks later with a 72 h patch test of a non-irritating concentration of the compound.

The results demonstrated that baobab fruit pulp was non-irritant.

 

8.3 LD50 Test in rodents

Ramadan et al (1994) carried out LD50 studies in rodents to determine the acute toxicity of baobab fruit pulp (which was from a different source from Phytotrade’s product). An aqueous extract was produced from freeze dried pulp that had previously been extracted with distilled water (80g filtered freeze dried product from 110g of fruit pulp). Increasing amounts of the aqueous extract were administered to rodents via intraperitoneal administration until 50% of the sample group had died. The results produced an LD50 value in rodents of 8000mg/kg. If this value is extrapolated to a 70kg human this would provide an LD50 value of 560g. However, as we have previously mentioned, PhytoTrade’s Baobab dried fruit pulp has not been concentrated through extraction and also contains around 13% water by weight. This means that the predicted LD50 value for PhytoTrade’s product would be around 1/3 to 1/2 of this value; giving an extrapolated LD50 value of around 746 to 840g. Since the anticipated intake of PhytoTrade’s Baobab fruit pulp is around 15 g/day, this is well below the predicted LD50 value of 840g.

8.4 Cyclopropene Fatty Acids

Cyclopropene fatty acids, such as malvalic acid and sterculic acid (see diagram below), are found in the seed oil of baobab, however, there are no reports of these chemicals being present in the fruit pulp itself. There have been several studies on the effect of these compounds both in vitro in rat liver microsomes and in vivo in rats (Bezard et al, 1993a, Bezard et al, 1993b, Gaydou et al, 1995, Bezard et al, 1996). All rats were fed various diets that included 10% weight oil, of which the cyclopropenoid fatty acid content was 13.7%.

Malvalic acid (8,9-methylene-8-heptadececenoic acid)

Sterculic acid (9,10-methylene-9-octadecenoic acid)

All these studies reported effects that inhibited the fatty acid biosynthetic pathways, specifically affecting the desaturation pathways of lipids. This resulted in decreased membrane quality, decreased eicosanoid biosynthesis (e.g. arachidonic acid), dysfunction of adrenals resulting in decreased biosynthesis of corticosteroids, and decreased liver P450 enzyme activity.

There have been no adverse health reports in humans (Aitzetmuller, 1996), and this is believed to be due to the fact that indigenous people heat the oil during cooking. This is known to decrease the levels of cyclopropene fatty acids to very low levels. PhytoTrade’s Baobab Fruit Pulp was analysed for the detection of CPFA’s using GC­MS and comparison to known cyclopropene fatty acids. The exact methodology is in appendix 18 but the main results are reported below in table XIV:

Table XIV
Analysis of PhytoTrade’s dried Baobab fruit pulp for cyclopropene fatty acids

Fatty Acid

HSI300/3
/1
A

(mg/g)

HSI300/3/
1
B

(mg/g)

HSI300/3/
2
A

(mg/g)

HSI300/3
/2
B

(mg/g)

HSI300/3/
3
A

(mg/g)

HSI300/3/
3
B

(mg/g)

16:0 palmitic

0.63

0.67

1.21

1.15

0.90

0.89

16:1
hexadecenoic

0.02

0.01

0.02

0.01

0.02

0.02

17:0
heptadecenoic

0.01

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.02

0.02

16:3
hexadecatrieno
ic

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

malvalic

0.03

0.03

0.18

0.16

0.09

0.09

18:0 stearic

0.05

0.06

0.19

0.18

0.10

0.11

18:1 oleic

0.43

0.49

1.57

1.46

0.84

0.83

18:2 linoleic

0.28

0.34

1.01

0.95

0.67

0.67

sterculic

0.01

0.01

0.08

0.08

0.02

0.02

18:3 a-
linolenic

0.51

0.47

0.56

0.56

0.51

0.52

20:0 icosanoic

0.02

0.02

0.05

0.05

0.04

0.05

22:0

0.03

0.03

0.02

0.04

0.06

0.02

Total Fatty
Acids

2.02

2.14

4.94

4.70

3.30

3.27

 

NOTE: The fatty acids in bold are CPFA’s

The above table lists the results of the fatty acid analysis of samples from the three different batches of baobab dried fruit pulp. The levels of cyclopropene fatty acids vary between the three samples, with HSI300/3/2 showing the highest levels of malvalic acid (average 0.17 mg/g) and sterculic acid (average 0.08 mg/g).

The UK government recommends that the average person consumes no more than 35% fat in their diet (www.bbc.co.uk/health). This equates to 76g of fat for women and 100g of fat for men. The in vivo rat experiments (Bezard et al 1993a, Gaydou et al 1995, and Bezard et al 1996) consumed a diet of 10% fat made from baobab seed oil (13.7% cyclopropene fatty acids). Therefore, from these rat experiments we would expect to see the same effects when humans consumed a theoretical extrapolated value of around 10.4-13.7g of cyclopropene fatty acids.

PhytoTrade plan to use only 6-10g of baobab dried fruit pulp in a smoothie or 10-15g in a fruit bar. Assuming that the equivalent of 15g of baobab fruit pulp is consumed in one meal, this would equate to around a consumption of only 3.75 mg of cyclopropene fatty acids per meal from the analytical data outlined in table XIV above. As such, the amount of cyclopropene fatty acids in the baobab fruit pulp samples are over 3000 times below the level where toxic effects were observed in rats and are therefore unlikely to display toxic effects in humans when consumed at the anticipated intake levels.

 

8.5 LC50 brine shrimp assay

Tuani et al (1994) compared the activity of indigenous plants with a folkloric reputation for pesticidal activity and their LD50 values. Adansonia leaves and bark were extracted and these extracts were introduced to brine shrimp to determine their LC50 values.

Table XV
Effects of brine shrimp on different extracts of Baobab leaves and bark

Solvent extract

Plant Part

LC50 (ppm)

Adansonia ethanol extract

Leaves

110.9

Bark

40.6

Adansonia pet. ether extract

Leaves

>1000

Bark

 

8.6 Adansonin

Adansonin has been described as an alkaloid that has been reportedly isolated from Adansonia digitata. The bark of the Adansonia digitata tree is the only component that may contain the toxic alkaloid. Reference to this substance is not consistent, sometimes it is referred to as Adansonin and other times as Adansonine. However, in all cases the alkaloid is not listed in Beilstein or Chemical Abstracts from 1907 to 2005. The only formal reference to its existence is in the Merck index of chemicals and drugs: an encyclopedia for the chemist, pharmacist, and allied professions, 1952. There is a no supporting data on this particular alkaloid including what the structure of this molecule is or whether there are any therapeutic/toxic effects. However, another member of the Bombacaceae family of which Adansonia belongs, is known to contain the pyrrole based alkaloid, funebrine. This alkaloid was isolated from Quararibea fenebris vischer. It is unclear whether this group of alkaloids are would also be found in Boabab species. The issue is further confused by the work of Tuani et al (1994) who examined the bark and leaves of Adansonia whilst screening for bioactive phytochemicals. According to their results no alkaloids were detected, only flavonoids, general glycosides, and tannins.

Recent studies by PhytoTrade were undertaken to establish the potential presence of alkaloids in the dried fruit pulp of Adansonia digitata. Samples from batches HSI300/3/1, HSI300/3/2, and HSI300/3/3 were subjected to standard phytochemical methods for the detection of alkaloids using thin layer chromatography and visualization using Dragendorf’ s reagent (Wagner H. et al, Plant Drug analysis: a thin layer chromatography atlas, Springer Verlag, Berlin 1984. Harborne J.B. Phytochemical Methods: Chapman and Hall,1999). The results are detailed in appendix 19 but the results showed that no alkaloids were present in the ‚Äúalkaloid rich fraction‚ÄĚ at a detection limit of 5ug / 0.5g ‚Äď 0.001% dry wt in any of the dried fruit samples. Considering the extensive history of use of the dried fruit pulp, if any alkaloids were present at lower levels of detection, they are probably unlikely to be a cause for concern.

 

Structure of Funebrine

8.7 Ochratoxin Content

Levels of Ochratoxin A in foodstuffs are regulated by EU Law under EC/123/2005, recently amended from EC/466/2001. Here, the permitted levels of this mycootoxin in food is given as 10 ¬Ķg/kg for dried vine fruit. This includes currants, raisins, and sultanas. No other permitted levels could be found for other dried fruit products.

Table XVI
Analysis Data of Ochratoxin A РContent in PhytoTrade’s Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp Samples

Sample

Ochratoxin A (¬Ķg/kg)

H.S.I 300/3/1/A

<

0.1

H.S.I 300/3/1/B

<

0.1

H.S.I 300/3/2/A

<

0.1

H.S.I 300/3/2/B

<

0.1

H.S.I 300/3/3/A

<

0.1

H.S.I 300/3/3/B

<

0.1

 

Examination of the analytical data shows that Ochratoxin A levels in the baobab fruit pulp samples were < 0.1 ¬Ķg/kg, and this is well below the EC safety standard. The full details are included in appendix 20.

No other mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, were tested for in the PhytoTrade samples since these toxins are not generally expected to be found in dried fruit pulp.

 

8.8 Cyanide Content

Ghani and Abejule (1986) demonstrated that baobab fruit pulp contains small amounts of cyanide in the region of 0.0049%. Consequently, PhytoTrade’s product was analysed for cyanide content in different batches of the products:

Table XVII
Analysis results of cyanide content in PhytoTrade’s Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp samples

The results of the cyanide analysis of the PhytoTrade product, showed that all three samples did not contain cyanide at limit of detection for this particular analytical technique, i.e., less than 5mg/kg (see appendix 21 for more details and the methodology used). This equates to a figure of less than 0.00005%. A comparison with the figures of Ghani and Abejule (1986) of 0.0049% reveals that PhytoTrade’s product contains negligible, if any cyanide.

 

8.9 Toxicity of closely related species and the botanical family

A literature search was conducted on other closely related species to Baobab, the Bombacaceae family and the closely related Malvaceae family in which it has occasionally been placed. No apparent toxicity issues were highlighted within this family and in fact a number of species belonging to this family are known to be edible indicating at least, lack of any immediate toxicity. For example, the following species are known to be eaten in different parts of the World:

  • The fruits of the durian tree (Durio zibethinus , which are often referred to as the ‚ÄúKing of Fruits‚ÄĚ and are eaten all over South East Asia (Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. (1992);
  • Malabar Chestnut Pachira aquatica, the seeds of the fruits taste like chestnuts and are ground up to make bread (Purdue 2005);
    • The fruits of Ceiba pentandra are widely used in traditional medicine in Asia and Africa (Kawanishi et al., 2002) and the seeds are edible after roasting (Duke 2005);
    • Bombax malabaricum is widely used throughout India as folk medicine mainly as a diuretic and aphrodisiac (Gunaseka et al., 2003);
      • Quararibea cordata known as ‚Äúchupa-chupa‚ÄĚ is an edible fruit found in Amazonia ( Purdue 2005)
      • The seeds of Eriodendron anfractuosum are eaten in India when roasted ( Purdue 2005).

The family as stated previously is also closely related to the Malvaceae family (Heywood 1993) which contains other economically important species such as various Hibiscus species (used as herbal and flower teas) and specifically Hibiscus esculentus (Okra) used as a common vegetable in cooking.

 

8.10 Conclusion

Summarising all of the above safety data on Adansonia fruit pulp, there is no evidence that consuming 6-10g of baobab fruit pulp in a smoothie or 10-15g in a fruit bar would have any harmful effects.

 

9.0 Allergenicity of Baobab dried fruit pulp

There is no publicised evidence in the literature for allergenic effects caused by direct consumption of Adansonia digitata fruit pulp. Indeed, a recent report by Lorenzoni­Chiesura et al (2000) recommended that species belonging to in the Malvaceae family as having the least or no allergenic potential. As further evidence to support this claim, the work of Marzatico et al (2001), demonstrated no dermatological toxicity or allergic reaction when fruit pulp solutions were exposed to humans using a modified Draize test.

PhytoTrades product is a non-genetically modified produced fruit in which the protein content is not new to the food chain. Also, there have been no reported allergic reactions with regard to this plant species despite extensive consumption particularly in both Africa and India. The genus and close families of the Baobab also have no reported allergenic effects. Also the closely related fruits of the Adansonia gregori a baobab tree found in Australia is commonly eaten by Aboriginals and the Food Standards Agency of Australia and New Zealand have declared this food to have a ‘limited history of safe use in indigenous communities with no safety concerns identified and no harmful substances identified’ (FSANZ Food Standards Code, pp 99, 5 October 2005).

Taking into account the above information and the extensive history of use of Baobab fruit pulp as outlined in section 6.0 it is unlikely that Adansonia digitata will provoke an allergenic response in individuals who consume this product.

 

10.0 Appendices

Appendix 1 Members of PhytoTrade Africa in the Baobab fruit pulp Pre- Qualified Supplier (PQS) Programme

Appendix 2 (Confidential) Sourcing and blending of Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp from PhytoTrade’s suppliers

Appendix 3 Analysis of P-sitosterol in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp samples and

generation of a fingerprint by quantitative thin layer chromatography

Appendix 4 Specification Sheets for the different batches/regions of Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 5 Stability Data and Conclusions

Appendix 6 Anticipated Intake ‚Äď Leatherhead supporting information

Appendix 7a Toxicity and use questionnaire of Baobab fruit

Appendix 7a Edited questionnaire on history and safe use of Baobab fruit

Appendix 7b History of Use ‚Äď PhytoTrade Literature search Appendix 8 PhytoTrade Safety and Toxicity Literature Searches

Appendix 9 Determination of Vitamin C content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

Appendix 10 Determination of Pectin Content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by Colourimetric Assay

Appendix 11 Determination of Fatty Acids in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by Gas Chromatography

Appendix 12 Determination of the Nutritional Composition of Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

-Moisture Content -Protein Content -Total Fat Content -Ash Content

-Dietary Fibre Content -Energy

-Sugar Content

-Sodium Content -Fatty Acid Content -Vitamin B Content

Appendix 13 Determination of Trace Elements in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy

Appendix 14 Determination of Heavy Metals content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 15 Determination of Amino Acid Content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 16 Determination of the Microbiological Contamination of Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 17 Determination of Pesticides Residues in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 18 Determination of Cyclopropene Fatty Acid Content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by Gas Chromatography

Appendix 19 Determination of Alkaloid Content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

Appendix 20 Determination of Ochratoxin A in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp by High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

Appendix 21 Determination of the Cyanide Content in Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp

 

11.0 References

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Al-Qawari AA, Al-Damegh MA, El-Mougy SA (2003). Journal of Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants 10(3) pp1-6. Hepatoprotective influence of Adonsonia digitata pulp.

Arama E, Michaud P, Rouffiac R; Rodriguez F., (1988) ‚ÄúA new excipient in pharmaceutical formulation of theophylline tablets of the hydrophilic matrix type: the pulp of the baobab fruit (Adansonia digitata L.)‚ÄĚ Farmaco-Prat. Oct: 43(10): 303-15. (cited on:http://www.baobabfruitco.com/Eng/Bibliography.htm).

Atawodi SE, Bulus T, Ibrahim S, Ameh DA, Nok AJ, Galadima M (2003). African Journal of Biotechnology 2(9) pp317-322.

In vitro trypanocidal effect of methanolic extract of some Nigerian savannah plants.

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Bezard J, Andrianaivo-Rafehivola AA, Blond JP, Cao JM, Gaydou EM (1993a). Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 4 pp92-96.

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Bezard J, Cao JM, Blond JP (1993b).

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1210 pp24-34.

Inhibition of fatty acid delta 6 and delta 5 desaturation by cyclopropene fatty acids in rat liver microsomes.

Bezard J, Cao JM, Gresti J, Blond JP (1996).

Journal of Food Lipids 3 pp73-86.

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BFP (2005),baobabfruitco.com(accessed 18/02/05).

Bianchi JP, Ralaimanarivo A, Gaydou EM, Waegall B (1982).

Phytochemistry 21(8) pp1981-1987.

Hydrocarbons, Sterols, and Tocopherols in the seeds of six adansonia species.

Bosch, C., Sie, K. and Asafa, B. (2004) Adansonia digitata L. [Internet] Fiche de Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editeurs). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Pays Bas. 

Carr, W. R. (1955) Ascorbic Acid Content of Baobab Fruit. Nature, 176 (4496): 1273. Government Analyst’s Laboratory, Salisbury.

(Duke 2005) Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases, www.ars-grin.gov/duke

Diop, P. A., Frank, D., Grimm, P., Hasselmann, C., (1988) High Performance Liquid Chromatographic Determination of Vitamin C in Fresh Fruits from West Africa. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 1: 265-269.

Eromosele, I. C., Eromosele, C. O. and Kuzhkuzha, D. M. (1991) Evaluation of mineral elements and ascorbic acid contents in fruits of some wild plants. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 41: 151-154.

Fox et al., (1982) Baobab entry in Food from the Veld: Edible Plants of Southern Africa Delta Books, Johannesburg pp 131-132.

Gaydou EM, Bianchi JP, Ralamanavaro A, Waegell B, (1982) Hydrocarbons, Sterols, and Tocopherols in the seeds of six Adonsonia species, Phytochemistry 21(8) pp1981- 1987

Gaydou EM, Andrianaivo-Rafehivola AA, Siess MH (1 995)

Food Chemistry and Toxicology 33(5) pp377-382

Modifications of Hepatic Drug Metabolising Enzyme Activities in Rats Fed Baobab Seed oil Containing Cyclopropenoid Fatty Acids

Ghani, A. and Abejule, A. (1 986) A pharmacognostic study of the fruits of Adansonia digitata L. In The state of medicinal plants research in Nigeria, Ife, Nigeria

Glew R H, VanderJagt D J, Lockett C, Grivetti L E, Smith G C, Pastuszyn A and Millson M (1997) Amino acid, fatty acid, and mineral composition of 24 indigenous plants of Burkina Faso. J. Food Comp. and Anal., 10(3): 205-217.

Gray DO and Hayman AR, (1987) O-acetylethanolamine, a natural product from the leguminosae, Phytochemistry 26(3) pp839-841

Gunasekar Duvvuru , Mopuru Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, Muntha Kesava Reddy, , Madugula Marthanda Murthy, Cristelle Caux and Bernard Bodo, (2003)‚ÄúA New Sesquiterpene Lactone from Bombax malabaricum‚ÄĚ, Chem. Pharm. Bull., Vol.51, 458-459 .

Haerdi F (1964)

 

Acta Tropica Suppl 8 pp 1-278

Die Eigenborenen Heilpflanzen des Ulanga-Distrikes Tangajikas

Heywood V (1 993) Flowering Plants of the World.

Hudson JB, Anani K, de Souza C, Akpagana K, Tower GHN, Arnason JT, Gbeassor M., (2000) Pharmaceutical Biology 38(1) pp40-45

Investigation of Medicinal Plants of Togo for Antiviral and Antimicrobial Activities

Hudson JB, Anani K, Lee MK, de Souza C, Arnason JT, Gbeassor M (2000b) Pharmaceutical Biology 38(1) pp46-50

Further Investigations of the Antiviral Activities of Medicinal Plants of Togo

Hussain HSN, Deeni YY (1991)

International Journal of Pharmacognosy 29(1) pp51-56

Plants in Kano Ethnomedicine: Screening for Antimicrobial Activity and Alkaloids

Kalenga Saka JD, Msonthi JD (1994) Nutritional value of edible fruits of indigenous wild tress in Malawi, Forest Ecology and Management 64 pp245-248

Kawanishi Kazuko, Hidenori Ueda, Norito Kaneda, Sergio Mello Alves and Masataka Moriyasu, (2002) ‚ÄúA New Isoflavone Glycoside from Ceiba pentandra (L.) GAERTNER‚ÄĚ, Chem. Pharm. Bull., Vol.50, 403-404

Keith P & Palgrave MC (2000), Everyone’s Guide to Trees of South Africa, 4th Edition.

Keller, R. F., van Kampen, K.R and James , L. F. (eds) (1978) Effects of Poisonous Plants on Liuvestock, Academic Press, New York, 600pp.

Keraudren, M. (1 963) Pachypods et baobab à Madagascar. Science and Nature, 55: 2- 11.

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La Pharmacopee Senegalaise Traditionelle

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Baomix (baomix.com), a France based company working in partnership with Baobab Fruit Co Senegal  in Africa, the single largest harvester of Baobab ingredients in the world, is introducing the Baobab fruit pulp to the french market.

AGOJI has filed an application with a Sète based company to obtain an NPN (natural product number) for the 100% natural Baobab fruit pulp and will be able to make it available to french consumers in 250g bags and to Canadian nutraceutical companies.

The Baobab, a deciduous tree

The Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) is a deciduous tree that belongs to the plant family called Bombacacee and is originally from Central Africa although well distributed throughout the Sahelian and Sudanian zones of Mali. It grows spontaneously in the tropical regions of Africa, and some species were exported and cultivated in Florida, named “bottle tree”, and in Oceania (Adansonia gregorii).The trunk can reach a circumference of 40 meters, a height of 20 meters and a foliage diameter of 20 meters.

Baobab definition is probably derived from the Arabic “bu hibab” or “fruit with several seeds”; the Latin name was taken from the French botanist Michael Adanson, one of the first scientists that studied the plant characteristics, and from the typical fingered shape of the leaves. Leaves, bark and fruits are conventionally employed in several African regions as foodstuffs and for medicinal purposes. Baobab contains a number of substances typically employed for the treatment of numerous diseases in the African traditional medicine and for that reason it is also called “the small pharmacy”.

The large, gourd like, woody fruit contains a tasty pulp that is rich in Vitamin C (six times that of an orange), Calcium and Dietary Fibers (22% soluble and 23% insoluble) and is used as an intestinal regulator in cases of gastric disorders. It serves as a natural revitalizing source to combat fatigue and as an energy boost for athletes. The essential amino acids present in the pulp are a great source of energy. The pulp possesses also strong anti-oxidant characteristics and hepatoprotective activities proven by studies and while it can be taken as is, flavors, food and beverages industries have already shown a strong interest in Baobab ingredients and have already started working on developing innovative products such as teas, cereal bars, energy drinks and smoothies.

AGOJI Baomix plans on marketing Baobab Fruit Pulp on the Canadian market and offer consumers a 100% natural fruit to integrate to their daily diet. “The Baobab Tree is a mystical symbol in Africa; People know the Baobab Tree from the Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom but the benefits of the fruits are still unknown to the public and we want to enhance the resources Africa has to offer by introducing the Baobab Fruit Pulp on the french market. The Baobab Fruit Pulp, thanks to its rich content of nutrients and fibres might be used as an alternative to usual fruits people get tired of. We want to reach the natural stores and partner with nutraceutical companies that are willing to make the pulp available in forms of tablets or fruit powders, drinks and shakes.

The Baobab Fruit Pulp is already commercialized in Europe as a nutraceutical and the recent application for Novel Foods Approval in the European Union as a Food Ingredient will allow companies to integrate the Baobab fruit pulp as a natural and functional ingredient in the food industry to make juices, energy drinks, smoothies, ice creams, fruit powders, chewable tablets and cereal bars.

The seed oil, leaves, and red fibers can also be used in the cosmetic industry to make creams, masks, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and exfoliants. Many cosmetic companies already integrate baobab extracts to their existing products to enhance the anti-aging and regenerating effects on the skin.

Overall the wide range of usage of the Baobab product makes it a highly valuable natural resource that can help contribute to personal health and well being. As a by-product, its expanded use can also help enhance the economic development of several villages in Africa.


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The baobab, also called the upside down tree, could turn around the drinks industry. Dr John Wilkinson and  Dr Matt Hall explore the benefits of baobab.

While there is possibly 100,000 different edible plants in the world, so few are commercialised due to incomplete safety assessments, poor shelf life and the unavailability of the material for commercial production.

Baobab fruits

Baobab fruits

Recently a new botanical to the West seems to have found a reasonable solution to these problems with its use being imminent into the EU and the USA market place (Wilkinson 2006).

The baobab tree, Adansonia digitata, is a member of the Bombacaceae family which consists of around 20 genera and around 180 species (Heywood, 1993). This deciduous tree was originally located in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (Keith & Palgrave, 2000), but can be found in most countries within the African continent. Export by traders means the baobab tree is also common in America, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, Jamaica and Holland (Sidibe & Williams, 2002).

The baobab tree has many names including the monkey bread tree, the cream of tartar tree, and¬†the ‚Äúupside down tree‚ÄĚ. This last reference is due to the striking silhouette that the baobab tree¬†forms at sunset which gives the appearance of the tree being uprooted and stood on end.

The heavy white flowers of the baobab tree are pollinated by fruit bats at night. The resulting large green or brownish fruits resemble gourd-like capsules that around 6-8 inches in length. These capsules contain a soft whitish fruit pulp that has the appearance of powdery bread and kidney shaped seeds. The baobab fruit is wild harvested by collecting from the trees or from the ground.

The hard shells of the fruit are cracked open and the powdery fruit pulp is separated from the seeds and shell before use. The resulting free flowing creamy white powder, melts in the mouth when sampled and has a unique pleasant flavour with a mild slightly acidic after taste which can easily be masked with sweeteners or other flavourings for incorporation into drink products.

Nutritional composition

Airan and Desai (1954) first highlighted the presence of organic acids in the baobab fruit pulp.

These included citric, tartaric, malic, succinic, and ascorbic acid. A later report from Nour et al (1980), confirmed the observations of Airan  and Desai when they showed that the pulp  contained ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, mainly water soluble pectins, and the elements of iron and calcium.

Nutritional analysis of baobab fruit pulp has shown that the fruit is an excellent source of pectins, calcium, vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C content of baobab fruit pulp has been compared with oranges by Manfredini et al (2002), and shown to be at least at least three times higher (150-499 mg/100g vs 46mg/100g). Nour et al (1980) reported that the vitamin C content of baobab fruit pulp was 300 mg/100g whereas data from Wilkinson (2006) shows vitamin levels ranging from 74 to 163 mg/100g. The current EC RDA value is given as 60 mg/day and so 10g of fruit pulp would give at least 25% the recommended daily amount of ascorbic acid.

Trace elements

Data from Kalenga
Sa ka et al (1994)
(mg/kg)

Data from Glew et al
(1997)
(mg/kg)

Wilkinson (2006)
(mg/kg)

P

450

733

561-733

Ca

1156

3410

2570-3700

Mg

2090

2090

1260-1790

K

28364

20100-23900

Na

188

54.6

7-31

Fe

17

39.5-91

The baobab fruit pulp contains a high level of pectins, and has been found to contain up to 56% water soluble pectins by weight (Nour et al, 1980).

Recent analysis by Wilkinson (2006) revealed the pectin content to range from 23.4 to 33.8 g/100g of baobab fruit pulp. Although not as high as other reported values, these indigestible but soluble fibres are an important component of our diet.

Trace element analysis (see Table 1) shows that baobab fruit is a good source of calcium with 100g of baobab fruit providing 116 to 370 mg depending on the source (RDA for calcium is 500 mg/day). Iron content per 100g of fruit pulp is 1.7 to 9.1 mg (RDA for iron is 17 mg/day) and sodium content is very low.

Traditional food uses

The pulp of the baobab fruit is reported to have numerous uses by the indigenous people of Africa.¬† Bosch et al (2004) reported that the fruit is eaten as a sweet and used to make ice-cream. In Sudan, a refreshing drink called ‚Äėgubdi‚Äô is made from the fruit pulp and cold water to preserve the vitamins (Bosch et al, 2004). Amongst the Hausi farmers, the baobab fruit juice mixture is a popular drink and is available during the hot times of the year (Nicol, 1957).

The baobab fruit pulp is reported to be used in cooking, the dried pulp can be used in baking as alternative for cream of tartar (Bosch et al, 2004). Diop et al (1988) reported that the pulp was rich in calcium and this was the main reason that the baobab was largely consumed by pregnant women and children in Senegal. A study of pregnant women in Gambia, by Prentice et al (1993), reported that eating the fruit pulp in season  (December to April) without the seeds once a day, contributed 30 mg/day calcium to the diet.

Use of baobab in the EU and  the rest of the world

There are several reports in Europe of baobab fruit being used within the EU.  In the early 1900’s, there was a report that several tonnes were imported into the UK for use in the preparation of tea cakes (Kerauden, 1963). Later, during the First World War, the fruit pulp was used as a leaven for baking bread (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962).

Unsurprisingly in Paris, the immigrant communities from West and central Africa, are reported¬†to use the baobab in the traditional manner of their forebears. Most recently, an Italian media¬†outlet reported that baobab fruit supplements have been endorsed by Italian cyclists, a Formula¬†one driver, and AC Milan football players. There are numerous reports from across the globe regarding the use of baobab fruit pulp. In the USA dispensaries from 1860 to 1947, there are reports regarding use of baobab fruit (Woods et al, 1880, 1907, 1932, 1943). In Canada, baobab fruit was listed as a substance in cosmetics and care products between between January 1, 1987 and September 13, 2001. In India, the baobab tree is widely distributed and the fruit is regularly consumed. Finally, in Australia, fruit from Adansonia gregorii, a close relation of¬† Adansonia digitata, was considered by the Australian Food Standards agency as ‚Äúnot novel‚ÄĚ and given food status in March 2005.

Traditional medicine use of baobab fruit

All parts of the baobab tree are reported to have medicinal properties according to traditional folklore (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).

Of particular interest is the use of baobab fruit and seeds to treat dysentery as reported by Watt/Breyer-Brandwijk (1962). Recently, Tal-Dia et al (1997) compared the efficacy of a local solution, ‚Äúpain de singe‚ÄĚ, made from baobab fruit against the WHO standard solution for treatment of dehydration. The results showed that both solutions were equally effective.

Baobab fruit is reported to have febrifuge (antipyretic) properties in traditional medicine. Ramadan et al, (1994) showed that whilst baobab fruit pulp may lower elevated body temperature, normal body temperature is not affected.

Conclusion

Baobab dried fruit pulp is the latest novel food that could soon be available in the EU if regulatory approval is forthcoming. The intended use for baobab dried fruit pulp will mainly be in fruit bars and smoothies. Of more interest to manufacturers is the high nutritional value of the baobab dried fruit pulp which has been found to contain high levels of pectins, calcium, vitamin C and possibly iron.

There are very few new novel foods and exotic fruits that are now being introduced into the EU because of the high costs of getting approval as a food. Baobab is a land mark case in that if it is approved (the application by the baobab producers, PhytoTrade Africa was filed in June 2006), its approval will have been obtained by paying close attention to the real and justifiable concerns of the regulators, and finding innovative ways to achieve the safety objectives whilst avoiding inappropriate and unnecessary costs. Pending success with this approach, could inspire other exotic food producers in areas such as South America, Asia and Africa, to once again, bring new botanicals into the EU for consumers to enjoy without the millions of pounds of investment which has been needed in the past for novel foods to get approved.

 

References

Airan TW,  Desai RM (1954) J. of Univ. Bombay 22 pp 23-27; Bosch,

C., Sie, K. and Asafa, B. (2004) Adansonia digitata L. [Internet] Fiche de Protabase; Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editeurs).

PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Pays Bas; Carr, W. R. (1955) Ascorbic Acid Content of Baobab Fruit. Nature, 176 (4496): 1273.

Government Analyst’s Laboratory, Salisbury; Diop, P. A., Frank, D., Grimm, P., Hasselmann, C., (1988) High Performance Liquid Chromatographic Determination of Vitamin C in Fresh Fruits from

West Africa. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 1: 265-269; Glew R H, VanderJagt D J, Lockett C, Grivetti L E, Smith G C,Pastuszyn A and Millson M (1997) Amino acid, fatty acid, and

mineral composition of 24 indigenous plants of Burkina Faso. J.Food Comp. and Anal., 10(3): 205-217; Heywood V (1993)Flowering Plants of the World; Kalenga Saka JD, Msonthi JD (1994)

Nutritional value of edible fruits of indigenous wild tress in Malawi, Forest Ecology and Management 64 pp245-248; Keith P &Palgrave MC (2000), Everyone’s Guide to Trees of South Africa, 4th

Edition; Keraudren, M. (1963) Pachypods et baobab à Madagascar. Science and Nature, 55: 2-11; Manfredini S, Vertuani S, Braccioli E, Buzzoni V, (2002), Antioxidant capacity of Adansonia Digitata

fruit pulp and leaves, Acta Phytotherapeutica 2 pp2-7; Nicol, B. M.(1957) Ascorbic Acid Content of Baobab Fruit. Nature, 180 (4580):287; Nour et al., (1980) Chemical composition of baobab fruit.

Trop. Sci 22, 4 p383 – 388; Prentice, A., Laskey, M.A., Shaw, J.,Hudson, G.J., Day, K.C., Jarjou, L.M.A., Dibba, B., Paul, A.A.,(1993) The calcium and phosphorus intakes of rural Gambian women during pregnancy and lactation. British Journal of Nutrition, 69: 885-896; Ramadan A, Harraz FM, El-Mougy SA (1994), Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-pyretic effects of the fruit pulp of Adansonia digitata, Fitoterapia 65(5) pp418-421;Sidibe, M. and Williams, J. T. (2002) Baobab. Adansonia digitata. Book published by the International Centre for Underutilised

Crops, Southampton, UK; Watt J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., (1962) Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa. Livingstone, Edinburgh & London; Wilkinson, JA (2006)

Baobab Dried Fruit Pulp Novel Food Application, http://www.acnfp.gov.uk/assess/; Wood, G. and Bache, F.

(1880,1907,1932) The US dispensatory, Philadelphia.


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Baobab powder is very nutritious. To obtain it, you can plant and grow your own baobab. We’ll explain you how to do it.

Species

Baobab is the common name of a genus (Adansonia) with eightspecies of trees, 6 species in Madagascar; 1 in Africa and 1 in Australia.

  • Adansonia gregorii (A.gibbosa) or Australian Baobab (northwest Australia)
  • Adansonia madaf Zascariensis or Madagascar Baobab (Madagascar)
  • Adansonia perrieri or Perrier’s Baobab (North Madagascar)
  • Adansonia rubrostipa or Fony Baobab (Madagascar)
  • Adansonia suarezensis or Suarez Baobab Diego Suarez,(Madagascar)
  • Adansonia za or Za Baobab (Madagascar)

The name Adansonia honours Michel Adanson, the French naturalist and explorer who described A. digitata.

Growing a baobab

Growing a baobab

General Background

One of the earliest written references to the Baobab tree was made by the Arabic traveller, Al-Bakari in 1068. In 1592, the Venetian herbalist and physician, Prospero Alpino, reported a fruit in the markets of Cairo as “BU HUBAB”. It is believed that the name is derived from the Arabic word Bu Hibab which means fruit with many seeds.

Common names include bottle tree and monkey bread tree. Baobab – derived from African fokelore “upside-down-tree”. The story is after the creation each of the animals were given a tree to plant and the stupid hyena planted the baobab upside-down.

The baobab is the national tree of MadagascarWatering Baobabs.

Once the leaves start turning yellow at the beginning of autumn – gradually slow down watenng. Stop watering when plus minus 50% of leaves turn yellow. Do not water trees during the dormant (winter) period. However, some people do water in winter, mainly in hot areas, but according to experience chances are very good that trees will rot and may die.

Slowly start watering again when the trees are sprouting new buds, usually mid September.

Do not over water during this period but gradually increase water and fertiliser (preferably organic) as more and more leaves develop.Only once the tree is in full leaf can it receive as much water and fertiliser as other trees. Always let the surface soil dry out a bit before watering again. Adjust watering during rainy periods.

Where to keep Baobab

Baobabs like direct sunlight for as long as possible during the active growing period. The more sun the better they grow. Preferably keep under a hail net or not more than 30% shade net. Never keep indoors during growing period. During winter the tree MUST be kept anywhere indoors, on a wall unit or even under the bed or in a cupboard. The tree does not need any sunlight during the cold winter months as it is completely dormant. Protect the trees from cold (below 10 deg C) and frost – It is recommended keeping them indoors, this solves the problem of cold and frost and the temptation of watering them where they can also be displayed.

Transplanting Baobabs

Baobabs are easy to transplant as long as you stick to the basics. Baobabs can be transplanted from September to December. Baobabs have potato like roots – it is edible (some very sweet others not). Always make sure the cut through the root is done with a sharp tool and the cut is clean – the cut should at a right angle (90 degree) with the root to keep the surface of the scar as small as possible. Always seal the cut with a mix of wood glue and flowers of sulphur to prevent rotting of the root. Some bonsai growers burn the freshly cut root. Place the cut root after the application of the flower of sulphate mix in direct sunlight to dry out for about an hour. Transplant in a deep bonsai pot and make sure the tree is anchored if a lot of roots were removed. Do not water for 7 to 14 days, keep in full sun, thereafter water sparingly in the beginning until the tree is full of leaves. Baobabs prefer a well drained soil mixture. Soil mixture of 2 parts coarse aggregate, and one part compost.

Diseases in Baobab as Bonsai

Baobab trees have very few pests. Be careful of rootrot – too much water at the wrong time. Trees with root rot can be rescued if discovered early – cut back until there is no more sign of rot and treat the same as a newly transplanted tree. Regularly feel the base of the tree, it must remain hard because rotting always starts from the roots upwards. They may also be attacked by fungi.

Training Baobabs as Bonsai

To obtain the quickest results, the young seedlings should be transplanted in a big container. The bigger the better. The container should stand on the ground to give the roots the opportunity to grow through the enlarged drainage holes into the ground. Alternatively on top of another large pot filled with soil. This will result in very fast developing trees. The roots inside the pot must be watered to keep them alive. When the tree is transplanted the roots in the ground (larger pot) will be sacrificed and only the roots inside the growing pot will be used. The top growth needs to be trimmed back to compensate for the loss in roots. If planted to grow into open ground, in areas that are very cold and frost occurs during the winter months, the roots should be cut off just below the container and the cuts treated with flowers of sulphur.

All Baobab trees should be moved somewhere indoors to protect them from the cold.

This process should be repeated year after year until the desired development is reached.