Antioxidant Potentials and Environmental Application of Tamarindus Indica Plant

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Different potentials has been devoted to most of the abundant and under-utilized plants found in Africa. This characteristic properties can be harness and channel to aid environmental, economic and social development. Tamarindus indica is one of the most commonly under-utilized plant materials with a number of reported biological and environmental relevance. In this mini review, we reported on antioxidant potentials and environmental role associated with Tamarindus indica which might be due to its vast phytochemical profile. The aim of the work was to unravel the applicability of antioxidant possession of Tamarindus indica in the field of environmental health and remediation. About sixty one (61) publications out of two hundreds (200) sourced from various databases were consulted. The articles were screened based on their bearing to the areas concerned this report. Numerous researchers revealed antioxidant capacity, phenolics and ascorbic acid content of different parts of tamarind to be significantly appreciative. This property shows a strong association with the vast amount of phytochemical confined in this plant. Antioxidant property in Tamarindus indica might serve a driving force in many of its displayed biologicals potentials. Thus, tamarindus indica could also serve a reasonably in the field of environmental health and safety due to their abundance and less utilization.

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Tamarindus indica L. is a perennial evergreen tree belong to the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is cultivated worldwide, naturalized partly in the tropics and subtropics. Two types of tamarind includes the ‘sour’ which is the most common and ‘sweet’ found mostly in Thailand, both can be eaten fresh (unripe/ripe) or as a processed product. Tamarind has different local names based on cultivating countries as indicated. Mexico and Costa Rica are the largest producers of tamarind followed by Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It is widely used among the local people in Africa but not produce on a commercial scale. The plant grow wild on wastelands, backyards and roadsides in the Savannah region of Nigeria. In sub-sahara Africa, this indigenous plant contributes to food security and ecosystem stability. Tamarindus indica was used for food, medicinal, cultural, social, environmental amelioration and income generation purposes. This plant was re-counted to possess great potential to address various nutritional, health, socioeconomic and environmental constraints. Different parts of this plants viz. pulp, fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers and bark have been used in traditional medicine for various clinical conditions. Research without number were documented on nutritive value of several part of this plant with high carbohydrate, protein, fat and minerals content. Traditional medicinal role of tamarind validated in the light of scientific research were also reported in the literature. This review aimed at outlining some reported potential antioxidant phytochemicals found in various part of Tamarindus indica and correspondingly highlight its possible application in environmental research.

Botanical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)

Sub kingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)

Super division: Spermatophyta (Seed plants)

Division: Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)

Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)

Subclass: Rosidae

Superorder: Rosanae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae

Genus: Tamarindus L. (Tamarind)

Species: T. indica

Tribe: Detarieae

Binomial name: Tamarindus indica L.

A number of investigators have published a vast of research and review communication on tamarind plant. Most of these review studies were centered toward general context about the plant and its uses. Although, none of this work solely dealt with a particular parameter that could oblige a general attribute for other related potential properties. This work aimed at comprehensive report on phytochemical content and antioxidant potential of this plant. The property could function as inherent to many of all it properties reported in the literature ranging from biological/medicinal to some enviromental application.

The literature was gathered from various data database and platforms including NCBI, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Science Direct, Research Gate and Open Google searches. Search terms such as; ‘tamarind’, ‘Tamarindus indica’, ‘antioxidant and phenolic content of tamarind’ and others queries were used in sourcing information from scholarly journals, reports, book, book series and conference papers from net. About one hundred and fifty (150) papers were sourced from online search and screened down to seventy six (76) based on year of publication (mostly 2010 to date) and topic relevance. An attempt was made to judge between various findings on phenolic content and antioxidants potentials of different part of this plant using comprehensive meta-analysis. But, difference in analytical tools and governing principles behind every antioxidant assay may not guide us to a reliable and representative interpretation. Therefore, reader may have to refer to the original articles for details about analytical methods and correct interpretation of the results based on theprevailing conditions.

Phytochemicals and Antioxidant Potentials of Tamarind

Wide number of biological activities of tamarind has been reported, most were attributed to its potential antioxidant properties. Phytochemical screening of virtually all parts of this plant revealed the presence of flavanoid, tannins, terpenoids and citric acids. The biological role of tamarind associated with antioxidant potentials includes; anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, antinematodal, antiviral, moluscidal and cytotoxic. The widely domestic and industrial use of tamarind pulp is likely attributed to the presence of phytonutrient that gives powerful dietary antioxidant and total phenolic content. Tamarind pulp are extensively reported as rich in phenolic content and antioxidant capacity with distinguished sweet acidic taste which may be due to high content of tartaric acid. Shridhar and Kumar report shows a strong positive connection between the total phenol content of tamarind pulp and antioxidant activity determined using DPPH, ABTS and FRAP methods. Total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of tamarind pulp determined using FRAP, ABTS and DPPH method was found to be promising when compare with plant known to have high antioxidant potentials. Konan et al., reported this antioxidant capacity to follow the order: baobab > Roselle > tamarind > ginger > passion > lemon, respectively. In comparative attempt with mango, longan, jackfruit and avocado, tamarind pulp shows a greater antioxidant and phenolic content. In another study, total phenolic and antioxidant activity of tamarind pulp was also found to be highest when compared to star fruit, Indian gooseberry, ambarella and satkara. Aline further compare antioxidant potentials of tamarind using ABT, DPPH and FRAP method with fourteen other plants and found to be reasonably impressive. Mulyani et al., asserted that antioxidant effects of tamarind leaves is due to the presence of ascorbic acid, phenolics and flavanoid content. Other reports by Murugan et al.,[36] revealed high antioxidant capacity of a stored young tamarind leaves powder. Antioxidant outcome of tamarind leaves can be complemented through synergistic interactions with other plants. Strong antioxidant effect of tamarind leaves can be better explained in terms of this interaction between ascorbic acid, phenolics and vast number of flavanoids. The leaves were also shown to have a proven hepatoprotective activity associated with the presence of poly-hydroxylated compounds, with many of them flavonolic in nature. Narasimhacharya et al., demonstrated the ability of tamarind leaves, seed and pericarp extract to have high antioxidant capacity using ABTS and DPPH method, and its attributed to its high phenolic content.

Warangkana further relate these effect to inhibition of cancer cell growth observed in their study. Kannen et al., revealed an in vivo potentials of tamarind pulp against lipid peroxidation and increased the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes. Atawodi and Mubarak further demonstrate an in-vivo hepato- and nephro-protective effect of leave, stem bark, seed, fruit pulp, fruit bark and root of Tamarind plant. Vyas et al., revealed high antioxidant potential of tamarind seed coat using DPPH method. Uma and Sarkar also reported the effect of temperature and technique of extraction to be significant on antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of tamarind seed[42]. Nushrat and Nazrul Islam also reported on effect of temperature and two extraction solvent on phenolic content, ascorbic acid and antioxidant capacity of tamarind seed extract[43]. Finally, many studies reveal a positive linear relationship between antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of tamarind extracts.

Environmental Application of Tamarind

Tamarind fruit has a considerable industrial importance but largely under-utilized in Nigeria and many other part of the world[7]. Tamarind seed powder has been used locally as natural bio coagulants in water to reduce turbidity and other parameters as an alternative to costly and side effects attributed chemicals[50]. Hefni et al.,[51] reported tamarind seed powder to be effective bio coagulant in gold mine waste water for removal of mercury. This ability might be due to its high protein content which act as natural polyelectrolyte whose utility is similar to synthetic coagulant.

Although, less effective, natural coagulant are reported to be cheap, environmentally friendlier and produce much smaller sludge volume. Giwa et al., also reported on the use of tamarind seed powder as effective bio-coagulant in treatment of detergent waste water with significant reduction in turbidity and chemical oxygen demand. Seed polysaccharide was also reported to be use as a carrier in drug delivery. Tamarind leaves contained citric, malic, tartaric and oxalic acids which are considered economical, environment-friendly, and reliable in sustainable weed-management because of their allelopathic potentials. Tamarind juice has also been reported to play role as natural biocatalyst in some industrial chemical transformation. The interest on the use fruit juice in organic synthesis is mainly due to their acidic properties, enzymatic activity and benign environmental character[55]. Tamarind seed polysaccharide (TSP) has shown to be useful in pharmaceutical, textile and food industries as a mucoadhesive polymer. Because of their great properties such as biocompatibility, biodegradability and non-toxicity, they ought to be used in control drug release. Tamarind pod shell otherwise discarded as tamarind waste can be used in waste water treatment for sorption of heavy metals. Ahalya et al., reported on excellent hexavalent chromium sorption capacity of tamarind pod shell. Tamarind bark powder was also reported to be effective in biosorption of mercury (II) from effluent stream.

Activated charcoal prepared from tamarind seed shows excellent ability to adsorb iron (III) from waste water. Sorption capacity of tamarind pulp at various conditions was also reported by Khalid and Kumar. Tamarind kernel powder was found to be effective adsorbent for reducing the biochemical oxygen demand and total dissolved solid present in the dairy industry wastewater. Sorption mechanism involving heavy metals was postulated and validated by many researchers using FTIR to involved interaction with major functional groups present in biosorbent material. Hence, level of phytoconstituents in plant materials could determine its applicability as effective biosorbent.

Despite various extraction techniques and conditions, tamarind extract shows a very strong potency against oxidative radicals generated by a number of different antioxidant assay procedures. This property might strongly be associated to its numerous biological activities reported in the literature. Because of tamarind availability, this property can be harness into the field of environmental remediation to counter the high energy requirement, cost and production of toxic sludge associated with the use chemical reductant. Tamarind can be found fateful in bioreduction of toxic heavy metals as alternative to highly expensive and toxic chemical reductant.

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