What is Moringa, and why is it important?
You may have heard of the plant Moringa, as a new “superfood” and its importance for malnutrition, because of high vitamin, mineral and protein content. Well, you can add the benefits of this fantastic plant food to your diet, by purchasing Moringa powder. Add it to smoothies, baking, etc.
Moringa is a small tree of which the leaves, roots, stems, seeds and flowers can be eaten. It has anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial and is a possible anticancer plant. (Gopalakrishnan et al. 2016) The peregrina species grows in Saudi Arabia and its oil is used for health and skincare, as well as seeds for water treatment. Read on below if this is interesting to you! Three articles have been referenced for which you can read some excerpt info. and go direct to article by clicking on the link at bottom of page. Enjoy!
https://experiencealula.com/en/discover-alula/alula-oasis Click this link for a nice Saudi site that highlights Moringa peregrina at Al Ula historic district.
The following is an excerpt from article by Gopalakrishnan et al. 2016.
“Moringa oleifera belonging to the family of Moringaceae is an effective remedy for malnutrition. Moringa is rich in nutrition owing to the presence of a variety of essential phytochemicals present in its leaves, pods and seeds. In fact, moringa is said to provide 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach.” (Gopalakrishnan et al. 2016)
The following are excerpts from article by Hassanein and Al-Soqeer 2018.
“This study aimed to assess the diversity of Moringa oleifera and Moringa peregrina in Saudi Arabia. Seven genotypes per species were characterized morphologically using 14 morphological characteristics and genetically using 10 ISSR primers.” …
“…M. oleifera genotypes were distinguished by long, thick stems with more crown spread, and larger pinnate leaf area compared to those of M. peregrina. Plant height and pinnate dimensions were the most pertinent indicators for the discrimination among genotypes where they were correlated to all morphological characteristics and gave representative classification. Diversity was found between the two species and among the genotypes of each species.”
” …The diversity found among genotypes could be of great importance for the selection of clones with desirable characteristics for further improvements of Moringa.” (Hassanein and Al-Soqeer 2018)
The next article studies the adsorption of Moringa and water treatment proteins, but first, what is “adsorption”? I used the online google dictionary for the definition.
Adsorption is the process by which a solid holds molecules of a gas or liquid or solute as a thin film. “the study of the direction of protein adsorption to solid surfaces”
Here are excerpts from article by Nouhi et al. 2019.
“Trees of Moringa oleifera are the most widely exploited species of Moringa and proteins extracted from its seeds have been identified as the most efficient natural coagulant for water purification.”
“…Results showed that Moringa peregrina seed proteins had higher adsorption to alumina compared to silica, in contrast to opposite behavior for Moringa oleifera. Both species provide cationic proteins that can act as effective coagulants for the various impurities with different surface potential. Despite the considerable similarity of the amino acid composition, the seed proteins have significantly different adsorption and this presents the opportunity to improve processes by choosing the optimal species or combination of species depending on the type of impurity or possible development of separation processes.”
“Remediation and purification of water remain a major challenge for environmental engineering in many areas: there is a continuing pressure to provide safer water supplies.”
“The most widely exploited natural material for water treatment has been crushed seeds from Moringa oleifera trees. This use was first observed as a traditional process in the valley of the Nile river but work by Broin et al., for instance, identified that the protein from the seeds is the effective coagulant. “
“There are thirteen known species of Moringa trees that are native to Africa, Asia, Middle East and Madagascar but some are now distributed widely in various regions of the world, including areas with little rainfall. Although Moringa oleifera is the most widely used, it is interesting to consider the possibility to exploit other varieties.”
“Moringa oleifera seed proteins have been suggested as the most effective natural coagulant/flocculant for water purification purposes, however, they only grow in specific regions. Moringa peregrina grows as native species in different regions of the world but has been less exploited as a coagulant. The results of this study show that Moringa peregrina seed proteins can provide an effective flocculent for colloidal particles and that it acts in a similar way to Moringa oleifera seed proteins in the clarification of water.” (Nouhi et al. 2019)
Gopalakrishnan, Lakshmipriya, Kruthi Doriya and Devarai Santhosh Kumar. “Moringa oleifera: A review on nutritive importance and its medicinal application.” Food Science and Human Wellness, vol. 5 no. 2, Jun. 2016. pp. 49-56, doi.org/10.1016/j.fshw.2016.04.001.
Hassanein, Anber Mahmoud Ahmed and Abdulrahman Abdulah Al-Soqeer. “Morphological and genetic diversity of Moringa oleifera and Moringa peregrina genotypes.” Horticulture, Environment and Biotechnology, vol. 59, Feb. 2018, pp. 251-261, doi.org/10.1007/s13580-018-0024-0.
Nouhi, Shirin et al. “Comparative study of flocculation and adsorption behaviour of water treatment proteins from Moringa peregrina and Moringa oleifera seeds.” Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 17945, Nov. 2019, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-54069-2.