Proximate analysis of cowpea


Proximate analysis of cowpea


Background to the Study


Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata and Vigna Senensis) are important grain legumes in East and West Africa as well other developing countries (Dovlo et al. 1976). The beans are also known by other names such as blackeye beans, southern peas, colossus peas and crowther peas. The pulse is indigenous to Africa (Okigbo, 1986), though it is now grown in other continents, such as Central America (Bressani et al. 1961) as well as North and South America and Asia.

Higher meat prices during recent years and the need for protein- rich foods have led people in the most developing countries to shift their consumption to cowpeas and other grain legumes. Cowpea is grown mainly for the seed and sometimes pods in West Africa, India and South America, but it is grown for both seeds, pods and leaves in East Africa. It is also utilized as fodder and as quick growing cover-crop. It improves soil fertility because of its ability to fix nitrogen efficiently (up to 240 kg N per hectare) and can leave a fixed- N deposit in the soil of up to 60 – 70 kg/ha for the succecding crop (Rechie, 1985; Kachare, et al.1988). Like other grain legumes, cowpeas are a good source of energy, proteins (amino acids), vitamins, minerals and deitary fiber. Legumes are sometimes refserred to as “poor man’s meat” or the “rich man’s vegetable” ( Walker, 1981). Cowpea is most widely consumed legume in Nigeria as it represents a cheap source of dietary protein. Of the different species of bean consume in the country, cowpeas in particular have attracted attention as possible home grown sources of protein and successive selections have made it possible to introduce several high yielding varieties with desirable packages of nutrients and with resistance to pest and microbial infections (Ologhobo et al, 1983). Cowpea are major sources of protein in developing countries where consumption of certain animal foods is taboo because of religious or customary beliefs. This trend has been observed in parts of northern Nigeria where pork and pork products, horse meat, donkey meat and meat of camels and asses are avoided by muslims. Cowpeas are a major source of thiamin and niacin and also contain reasonable amount of other water- soluble vitamins, riboflavin, pyridoxine and folacin. In addition, they supply the essential minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and phosphorus (Aykroyed et al. 1982). In Sudan, people relied mostly on other available leguminous crops (Ahmed and Nour, 1990).

Cowpea proteins provide the three esential amino acids lysine threonine and methionine, (Dhankher et al 1990. Sosulski, 1987; Fashakin, 1986; Philips, 1987; Saeed, 1977; El Hardallou, 1980). Intense efforts to find alternative sources of proteins from plants adapted to adverse conditions are being conducted around the world (Siddhuraju et al. 1995; Bravo et al., 1994; Bhattacharya et al. 1994).

Statement of the Problem

Despite the importance of cowpea (Vigna unguculata L. Walp.) as a food crop in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in West Africa (Rachie, 1973; R.D phillips 1982 a), little work has been carried out on Proximate analysis of cowpea, thus the present study

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The main aims and objective of the study is to examine the Proximate analysis of cowpea


The specific objectives of this study were to assess:

  1. The effect of anti-nutritional factors (tannin, phytic acid , and tryps in inhibitors) on cowpea protein
  2. The proximate and mineral composition of cowpea grains


Legumes are primarily important as sources of protein in diets in many parts of the world. Cowpea is economically useful as vegetable (leaves), a protein source (seeds and young pods), fodder and pulse crop. Increase in vegetable protein, vitamin and soluble carbohydrates supply from cowpea in malnourished areas presents a less difficult, less expensive and more energy efficient solution. Consequently, cowpea production should be enhanced.