FNRI holds seminar on malunggay PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charina A. Javier   

Ordinary backyard plants, like malunggay, can have an extraordinary role in health and well- being.


Ms. Alicia Ilaga, Director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Biotechnology Program Implementation Unit, called the malunggay as the “power gulay” in a seminar on malunggay as a functional food. The seminar was held at the FNRI Training Room last March 18, 2008.


Scientifically called Moringa oleifera, the malunggay is considered a “natural nutrition for the tropics” by the Church World Service and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization because of the amazing benefits derived from its small leaves.


Dr. Ilaga cited that on a gram-per-gram basis, dried malunggay leaves contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges, four times more calcium and twice protein than milk, four times more vitamin A than carrots, thrice more potassium than bananas and three-quarters the iron of spinach. Five grams of malunggay leaves can contribute about 19.7 percent of the vitamin A requirement of a 1-3 year-old child, according to Dr. Maria Pura Rayco-Solon of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP).


Prospectively, the malunggay leaves and seeds, particularly seed oil, are seen as promising in food and drink fortification and nutraceuticals. Moringa oil is 13 percent saturated fatty acid and 82 percent unsaturated fatty acid.


The malunggay can potentially aid in limiting the burden of chronic lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Dr. Trinidad P. Trinidad, Scientist II of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) based at the FNRI, presented the research agenda for malunggay of the Technical Working Group on Functional Foods. Said research agenda include studies on the characterization of bioactive compounds, establishment of health benefits and safety, efficacy studies, product development and awareness.


Other areas of concern that may be incorporated in the research agenda include the identification of a suitable medium or vehicle to maximize the utilization of the ingredient and the choice of proper application of malunggay to be used.

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  Updated  July 2015
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