Freshly harvested melon seeds i.e. (i) Citrullus lanatus (ii) Moniordica charantia (iii) Big goard like type was plucked and processed for its seed protein concentrates with a view to evaluate its proximate analysis using standard analytical techniques. The chemical nutrient composition of the protein concentrates revealed, the moisture content (54.5), Total ash (2.9) crude oil of kernels (53.5) crude oil of seeds (22.1), total protein of kernel (38.2)total protein of seeds (21.8). The amino acid profile reveals favourable nutritional balance with the presence of essential and non essential amino acid except that Tryptophan, Selenocystine, Norleveine and ammonia are not detected.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MELON
The melon, whose scientific name is cucumis melo, is a climbing plant of the family cucub, taceqe. The word melon indicates both the fruit and the plant that is largely cultivated as its fruits are edible, sweet and flavoured.
Melons can be eaten raw, both as an appetizer and as a dessert and cooked, in jams of fruits: this type of fruit and vegetable product is considered ripe and of a good quality if it is flavoured.
The melon is a summer fruit that can be ovoid or roundish according to the varieties cultivated: it is rich in water, sugars and fiber that have nutritional and refreshing properties.
This fresh fruit brings energy without being heavy: for this reason and for its beautiful radiant colour, the melon is one of the fruits that are symbol of summer.
Furthermore, the melon is particularly suitable in slimming diets, as it is low in calories. Melons are also slightly laxative, because of the fibres contained and are therefore useful to fight the sedentary life and to help the more lazy intestines; moreover, the melon is slightly diuretic and is suitable for people who suffer from anaemia, thanks to its great content of iron.
Apart from the features already mentioned, the melon is also an excellent tonic for the circulation: in fact, with only half a melon high blood pressure can be controlled. This is due to the high percentage of mineral salts such as iron, phosphorus, sodium and calcium, but mainly potassium that permit to control more than other mineral salts blood pressure as well as to recreate the water supply lost with sweating. The consumption of half a melon or small whole melon each day can thus help to keep fluid the blood and to avoid the formation of grumes.
The melon is also rich in vitamin, A from which derives the typical orange colour of the flesh (the colour is due to the presence of the pigments carotenoids, very important from the health of eyes), and in vitamin C, very important for the nutrition of the skin that in summer is more than ever exposed to temperature stress and to the sunlight.
However, the melon can be consumed also by people suffering from celiac disease as it does not contain gluten (information received by the A/C Associazione Italiana Celiachia).
Another property of melon is found in their flesh that is very hydrating: in fact, if sliced, they can be used as a face mask with a nutritional and refreshing effect after sunbathing. The flesh of melons, in fact, absorbs the warmth of the skin recreating its right degree of hydration. It is necessary to know only few things to buy a good melon: it must be compact when held in one’s hand, with the typical smell of ethylene coming from the front; in general the ends must be soft not too much and the petiole must be bright green. Knocking on the surface of the melon, it must not emit any sound.
A melon is considered sweet when its content of sugar is around 13% while when the content of sugar is lower than 11% the fruit is not considered of a good quality. There are melons whose content of sugar can reach up to 18%, even though in this case, such a content of sugar could disguise the complex taste that makes the melon one of the most appreciated fruits in the world. In order to permit to the fruits to reach the ideal quantity of sugars, it is necessary to harvest them at the right moment: a fruit harvested too early or too late, in fact, will not reach the right level of sugars and thus the ideal taste or instead will absorb too much sugars.
1.1.1 WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Protein is organic compound containing atoms of carbons, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur. Nitrogen is the most essential part of protein . proteins are large complex molecule which plays diverse role in all organism. The make up higher percentage of the structure of living things and also take part in fundamental process that makes up life.
Protein is compound or component of all the living tissue (animals and plants). And their molecules are much larger than those of carbohydrates and fats, proteins are not soluble in water but soluble in organic solvent. E.g Alkalines when boiled they coagulate easily. Proteins are made up of smaller unit called Amino acids. Before protein can be absorb into the body of an organism, there is need for it to be broken down unto its constituent which is amino acids.
However, before amino acids are formed, proteins are broken down to a series of compound of decrease complexity. These are protease, peptone and polypeptides. They are macro molecules and polymers.
1.1.2 TYPES OF PROTEIN
Protein is made up of polypeptide chains. Some protein like myoglobin consist of only one peptide chain. Others may consist of more than one type for example Hemoglobin is made up of four chains, two of another kinds. The amino acid sequence is important since it determines the three dimensional structure of protein and hence its biological function.
Types of Protein based on Structure
- Fibrous protein
- Globular protein
- Conjugated protein
The three dimensional structures refers to the way the polypeptides chains of a protein are arranged in space to form coils and sheets. And the x-ray crystallography shows that many of the polypeptide chains in protein have an x-helical structure.
- Fibrous Protein
This type of protein is obtained from the primary structure of protein in sequences. They are also known as compact spheroids.
They are maintained partly by hydrogen bond and partly by cross linkages which occur between the peptide chains. They have stable molecules and structural roles. They are found in the tissue of organism. Example is collagen (muscle protein). They are the common constituent of anima connective tissue. They enable the physical structure of the hair, strength of ligaments and tendon.
- Globular Protein
Globular protein hass irregular sequences of amino acids in their peptides structure. They have different shape being compact globules. They have twisted string rolled into a hall shape their molecules are not stable and they have metabolic roles within organisms.
Globular protein are found in Ribonucleic (Enzyme). An enzyme protein must come in close contact with its substrate of bring about chemical change. That is the biological function.
- Conjugated Protein
They contain protein and other chemicals in their structures, their protein present are called conjugated protein and the chemical present are non-protein referred to as the prosthetic group.
1.1.3 PROPERTIES OF PROTEIN
Protein usually from colloidal solutions, when heated, the protein precipitate coagulates. This is due to irreversible changes in the molecular shape of the protein and are said to be DENATURED. This process is known as denaturation.
Protein can be denaturated by:
- Temperature above 1000– certain organic solvent and chemical reagents 2
- Variation in PH2
Since the function of protein related to its shape, denatured losses its biological activities. Solution of hydrochloric acid or sodium hydroxide (Hcl and NaoH) respectively.
It can also be carried out using suitable enzymes. The amino acids obtained on. This is why living system operate within narrow temperature and PH ranges.
Hydrolysis of protein: protein may be hydrolyzed to give amino acid by boiling them with hydrolysis can be separated and identified by using paper chromatography.
1.1.4 OCCURRENCE OF PROTEIN
Proteins are found in all living system such as structural components and as biologically important substances such as hormones, enzymes and pigments. Protein in our food can be divided into two (2) classes:-
- First Class:- Which consist of essential amino acids. They are mainly origin, examples of foods are lean meat, fish, egg, milk, liver and cheese.
- Second Class Protein:- Which are mainly vegetables, protein which are found in vegetables such as peas, beans and leafs.
1.1.5 IMPORTANT OF PROTEIN
- Proteins are mainly used as building materials by living things especially animals. Important substance in living systems like enzymes, hormones and immunoglobins are proteins.
- Protein may be used as source of energy. This happen during starvation. The protein in muscles first breakdown to amino acids. These are further broken down to produce intermediates that can enter the kreb’s cycle and lead to the production of ATP molecules.
- They help in sperm swimming in their tail and also in the movement of chromosomes during cell division. Proteins from the structure of organism, example, replacement of torn or worn out tissue.
- They form part of the organisms body of an organism. E.g. silk in spider, collagens that makes up the tendon compound of hair, bones, skin, finger and cartilages, e.t.c.
1.1.6 SIGNS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY
- Diabetes:- This is cause by lack of insulin in the blood stream. Insulin is hormones which promoted the conversion of glucose to glycogen in the liver and allows the entry of glucose into the cell for oxidation in tissue reparation. Therefore, lack of insulin causes excess glucose in the blood stream.
- Lack of strong bone, teeth, coarsening of the skin, lack of shinning hair.
TEST FOR PROTEIN
Two methods shall be considered for this work
- The X anthropogenic test
- Trioxonitrate (v) acid test
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
There are different types of melon and there are also different characteristics which can be recognized as the size, shape, savour and the nutritional constitution. Therefore the purpose of this study is to observe various melons (citrullus lanatus and Big goard like type) in Nigeria and alongside determine the protein content in each one, in order to make recommendation for its consumption and its inclusion in human diet.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This work is carried out in order to know the approximately nutritional content and the proximate composition in the two (2) selected melons, the total protein (amino acid) of the nutritional evaluation obtain in different types of melon spices.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is always the need to investigate the amino acid content in various melons such as Citrullus lanatus (Egusi bara) AND Big goard like type Egunsi igba which would form part of food for people and animal browse in any parts of the tropic of where the plant is abundant or needed.
Therefore the significance of the study is to verify the amino acid content present in egunsi bara (citrullus lanatus) and Egunsi Igba (Big goard like type). This study will also create awarenessfor people to know and have the knowledge of how nutritive these melons are, and how to make use of these melons (Egunsi, bara and Egunsi Igba) to increase the nutritional value of the diet of poor people and the general as a whole.
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