Proximate composition of carob cultivars growing in South Africa
Five carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) cultivars grown in South Africa were analysed for proximate and polyphenol composition as well as for mineral, amino and fatty acid content. Carob pods from the five cultivars were obtained from two locations in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The average proximate composition (determined using standardised methods) range of raw carob pods was: 8.17-9.56% moisture; 40.69-54.74% sugars; 29.88-36.07% dietary fibre; 3.07-4.42% protein; 2.58-3.08% polyphenols; 0.45-0.86% fat; and 2.13-2.69% ash. A total of 17 amino acids were detected, including the seven essential amino acids. All cultivars analysed were found to be of good nutritional quality in terms of long-chain fatty acid proportions, i.e. PUFA: SFA and n-6: n-3 ratios. Slight, but statistically significant, compositional variations were found among cultivars. The results obtained in this study suggest that the locally grown carob cultivars are highly nutritious and can thus be considered as an alternative food source in South Africa.