Comparative Analysis of the Composition of Ocimum kilimandscharicum (Mutaa) and Ocimum gratissimum (Mukandu) from Makueni County, Kenya

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Comparative Analysis of the Composition of Ocimum kilimandscharicum (Mutaa) and Ocimum gratissimum (Mukandu) from Makueni County, Kenya

A comparative analysis of the composition of two species of Ocimum found in Makueni County, Kenya was undertaken. These were Ocimum kilimandscharicum (Mutaa) and Ocimum gratissimum (Mukandu). They are locally known by the names, Mutaa and Mukandu respectively. The Ocimum kilimandscharicum and Ocimum gratissimum were analysed qualitatively for the presence of minerals and phytochemicals. The phytochemicals analysed include reducing sugars, proteins, alkaloids, tannins, flavanoids, terpenoids and anthraquinones. The possible health benefits of the Ocimum species from Kenya were determined in view of the composition. Addition of a drop of aqueous sodium hydroxide and ammonium hydroxide till in excess, to test for minerals present showed no precipitate. The Fehlings’ test for reducing sugars using 1ml Fehling’s solution No.1 added to 0.5ml of extract gave a green solution with a brown precipitate at the bottom. The precipitate was more for O. gratissimum than O. kilimansdcharicum. The biuret test for proteins was negative. A Wagner test (dilute iodine) for alkaloids gave a red-brown precipitate. Tannins/phenols were analysed using Ferric chloride. A dark green-black precipitate was formed. An orange solution was formed in the flavanoid test using Magnesium metal and dilute hydrochloric acid. Salkowski test for terpenoids using 2ml chloroform with 3ml concentrated sulphuric acid was done. Red – Lukenya University Multidisciplinary Journal (LUMJ), Vol.1, August 25, 2021, ISSN 2663-3183| 258 brown upper layer and lower layer with a colourless interface between was observed in O. kilimandscharicum. Similar observations were made in O. gratissimum with a pink lower layer and a red-brown top layer. The test for anthraquinones gave a brick-red layer at the bottom of the test tube with a black ring at the top. The brick red layer was slightly darker for sample B (Mukandu) compared to sample A (Mutaa). In conclusion, the findings suggest the absence of proteins in both species of Ocimum. They point to the presence of calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and sodium minerals as confirmed by the flame test. Further, both species of Ocimum studied contain reducing sugars, alkaloids, tannins, flavanoids, terpenoids and anthraquinones. Variation in quantities of phytochemicals and minerals is suggested by the differences in colour intensities. In view of the findings Ocimum species in Kenya present great opportunities in the health sector that need to be explored. The phytochemical and minerals play significant roles in fighting microbes and ensuring a healthy body. A quantitative determination of the phytochemicals and minerals is required using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Atomic Emission Spectrometry (AES) or Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) to determine the difference in the quantities between the two species. Further, isolation of active ingredients remains a great need.

Key words: Ocimum, basil, chemical composition, phytochemicals, minerals, reducing sugars, health, Kenya

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