A Study to Determine the Total Iron and Extractable Iron Content Available in Ten Indigenous Vegetables of Ghana

Juliana Amoah *

Department of Laboratory Technology, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

John K. Otchere

Department of Laboratory Technology, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Theophilus Quaye

Department of Laboratory Technology, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Hospital Laboratory, West Gonja Hospital, Damongo, Savannah Region, Ghana.

Jonathan Ntow

Department of Laboratory Technology, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Aims: Vegetables are used to substitute most meats in most meals of poor communities since they are the main source of iron. The availability of numerous vegetables in Ghana and little knowledge about their iron content do not help select the best food. This study aimed to determine the total    and extractable iron content of ten indigenous vegetables commonly incorporated into various meals.

Study Design: The study was a cross-sectional sample conducted in June and August 2014.

Place and Duration of Study: Ten mostly used indigenous vegetables were randomly purchased from different vendors from the Kasoa market in the Central Region of Ghana and transported to the Department of Laboratory Technology Research laboratory, University of Cape Coast for lab analyses.

Methodology: Each sample was packaged in a separate clean polythene bag and labeled for transportation to the Chemistry laboratory, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast for total and extractable iron determination. Total iron content and extractable iron content were examined after homogenization and the concentration of the iron in the leaves was analyzed by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer to obtain the mean.

Results: Manihot esculenta leaves had the highest mean iron content of 336.77 mg/kg, followed by Abelmoschus esculentus leaves (319.30 mg/kg), Phaseolus vulgaris leaves (159.90 mg/kg), Moringa oleifera leaves (133.72 mg/kg), and Amaranthus cruentus leaves (129.96 mg/kg). The results showed the total iron contents were significantly different (P<0.0001) among the different vegetables, except for Xanthosoma sagittifolium and Corchorus olitorius. The mean extracted iron from each vegetable was lower than the total iron content. Manihot esculenta leaves had the highest mean extractable iron of 143.60 mg/kg followed by Phaseolus vulgaris leaves with a value of (79.37 mg/kg). Statistics indicated the mean extractable iron contents were significantly different (P<0.0001) among the different vegetables. The total iron and extractable iron contents of the ten vegetables were significantly different (P<0.00001) from each other.

Conclusion: The presence of iron in indigenous vegetables and their extractable nature was uncovered. The optimal sequence for choosing vegetables for the highest possible iron advantage is: Solanum melongena < Talinum triangulare leaves< Xanthosoma sagittifolium leaves< Abelmoschus esculentus leaves < Corchorus olitorius leaves < Ipomoea batatas leaves < Amaranthus cruentus leaves < Moringa oleifera leaves < Phaseolus vulgaris leaves< Manihot esculenta leaves. Public awareness should go on about the high benefits of iron from Phaseolus vulgaris leaves and Manihot esculenta leaves.

Keywords: Indigenous vegetables, total iron, extractable iron, nutrition

How to Cite

Amoah, J., Otchere , J. K., Quaye, T., & Ntow, J. (2024). A Study to Determine the Total Iron and Extractable Iron Content Available in Ten Indigenous Vegetables of Ghana. Asian Journal of Food Research and Nutrition, 3(2), 211–218. Retrieved from https://journalajfrn.com/index.php/AJFRN/article/view/125


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