NWU academic makes strides in Moringa oleifera agro-processing research

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:16

NWU academic makes strides in Moringa oleifera agro-processing research

Dr Nthabiseng Sebola, an academic and researcher from the North-West University’s campus in Mahikeng, recently published a research paper with one of the prestigious international agriculture journals Agroforestry, titled “Chemical characterisation of Moringa oleifera (MO) leaves and the apparent digestibility of MO leaf meal-based diets offered to three chicken strains”.

The research paper focuses on evaluating the chemical composition of Moringa oleifera at different stages of maturity. It also evaluates the apparent digestibility of Moringa oleifera Leaf Meal- (MOLM-) based diets when fed to indigenous chicken strains, such as the Potchefstroom Koekoek, Ovambo and Black Australorp that are often reared extensively in South Africa. The study explores the hypotheses that Moringa leaves harvested at different stages of maturity differ in terms of chemical composition and that chicken strains vary in terms of their capacity to digest and utilise diets containing graded levels of moringa leaves.

Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa, which is the only genus in the family Moringaceae. English common names include: moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree or benzoil tree.

Published with research fellows, Prof Victor Mlambo, director of the School of Agricultural Sciences, and Dr Hilda Mokoboki, a senior lecturer, Dr Sebola’s study concluded that based on the data observed, Moringa oleifera is a good source of minerals, crude protein and phenolic compounds. The presence of these important components means that Moringa oleifera leaves could be valuable dietary ingredients to improve poultry health and growth performance. The study concluded that MOLM can be used as a major component of diets for Ovambo and Potchefstroom Koekoek chicken strains.

“It is an honour to be afforded the opportunity to publish my work on an international platform,” Dr Sebola concluded.