The Nutritive Value of Cucumis melo var. agrestis Scrad (Cucurbitaceae) Seeds and Oil in Nigeria
This study investigated the biochemical properties of the Cucumis melo var. agrestis seed and its oil. Also the effect of fungi on the biochemical properties of artificially infected oil after 14 days of incubation was determined. Eight fungi were isolated from diseased C. melo var agrestis seed during a six months period and monthly sampling from 3 markets in Lagos state, Nigeria. The fungi include Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, A. wentii, Botrodiplodia theobromae, Mucor sp. Penicillium pinophylum, Phycomyces sp. and Rhizopus sp. The moisture content of the usually healthy melon seeds was 4.50 ±0.73% and oil yield was 59.46 ±1.29%. The seeds also contained 30.40 ±1.09% carbohydrate and 3.89 ±0.55% protein. The extracted oil was edible and non-rancid with free fatty acid value of 1.94 ±0.34%; peroxide value of 8.00 ±0.56 meq kg-1, iodine value of 10.50±0.81 and saponification value of 193.0 ±12.24 meq kg-1. The fungi artificially inoculated on the oil changed its biochemical properties, turning the oil rancid. The melon seed sampled did not contain heavy metal lethal to human health.