Int J Curr Pharm Res, Vol 7, Issue 2, 60-63Original Article



1Agharkar Research Institute, G. G. Agharkar Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411004, 2Department of Botany, Govt. Vidarbha Institute of science and Humanities, Amravati–Maharashtra 444604

Received: 23 Mar 2015, Revised and Accepted: 15 Apr 2015


Objective: Present study aims to understand the nutritional as well as medicinal potential of Nicandra physaloides fruits.

Methods: Fresh as well as shade dried material was used for estimation of moisture content, crude protein, crude fibres, lipids, fat, reducing and non-reducing sugars, total soluble sugars, starch, total nitrogen, vitamins and antioxidants. Mineral content was estimated in terms of ash yield and further analysis was carried out for qualitative and quantitative estimation of different elements. Material was also screened for presence of bioactive molecules.

Results: The study showed that, N. physaloides fruits were rich in proteins, carotenoids, vitamin–A and vitamin–C. The fruits were also found to be the good source of antioxidants like lycopene, anthocyanin, chlorophyll and phenols. Screening of bioactive molecules showed the presence of alkaloids, steroids, tannins, and polyoses which impart medicinal potential to plant.

Conclusion: The study confirmed the nutritional as well as medicinal potential of fruits of N. physaloides. Still more studies are needed on its toxicity.

Keywords: Nicandra physaloides, Fruit, Less Known, Wild, Edible.


Fruits are generally acceptable as the good source of nutrients and food supplement for food in a world faced with the problem of food scarcity. Wild fruits also constitute the source of nutrients especially to the rural population [1] and can be a source of micronutrients; hence knowledge about their nutrient potential is imperative.

Nicandra physaloides (L.) Gaertn. is known as Apple of Peru as it is a native of Peru, now introduced in Mediterranean region. It grows as a weed frequently on plains and commonly known as ‘Dhodana’ or ‘Ran Popti’ in Maharashtra. N. physaloides is much branched glabrous herb with ovate-elliptic leaves, blue extra axillary flowers; yellow berries, 1.4–1.8 cm across, seeds brown, flat, numerous.

N. physaloides leaf, fruit, stem and root show strong antimicrobial activity especially against the some pathogens of digestive tract [2]. Leaves have been reported to possess diuretic and narcotic properties [3]. Leaves and fruits are also reported to be edible after boiling [4-6]. Boiling removes the toxicants; therefore it must be kept in mind that while promoting wild vegetables, traditional recepies should strictly be followed.

Objective of the present study is to understand nutritional potential of fruits of this species as no such studies have been done on this species.

Fig. 1: Flowering and fruiting branch of Nicandra physaloides


Plants were brought to laboratory, thoroughly washed and surface dried under cool air current. For analysis fresh material was preserved at 4 °C, while dry powder was made of shade dried plants. For nutritional evaluation moisture content, crude fibre, total carbohydrates, starch, reducing and non-reducing sugars, crude protein, nitrogen and phenols, vitamins and pigments (antioxidants) were quantitatively estimated [7, 8]. For evaluation of medicinal properties, plant tissue was tested qualitatively for various bioactive compounds [9-15].

Plant ash was prepared; qualitative analysis was done to detect various minerals [16, 17] and quantitative estimation was done by flame photometer All assays were carried out at least in triplicate and values were obtained by calculating the average of three experiments and data are presented as mean±SEM.


With the increasing awareness about health it becomes necessary to search the food with richness in various nutrients. The values of nutrients obtained were converted into 100 gm fresh weight of tissue (table no. 1). Food plants that provide more than 12% of their calorific value of proteins are a good source of protein [18], in N. physaloides fruit protein value is 10.72% (~ 11%) therefore can be considered as the good protein supplement. Vitamins are needed for proper functioning of body; N. physaloides fruits were rich in carotenoids, vitamin–A and vitamin–C (Ascorbic acid) content (table 2). Carotenoids and Ascorbic acid are not produced by the human body; therefore they need to be obtained through diet [19, 20].

Table 1: Nutrients per 100 gm fresh tissue

S. No. Nutrients Fresh weight
1 Moisture content 77.36 %
2 Crude fiber (gm) 6.56±0.01
3 Carbohydrate
a. Total Carbohydrate(gm) 0.604±0.009
b. Starch(gm) 0.220±0.03
c. Reducing sugars(gm) 0.194±0.3
d. Non-reducing sugars(gm) 0.190±0.05
4 Crude Protein(gm) 1.124±0.2
5 Protein (N x 6.25) (gm) 2.428±0.02
6 Total Nitrogen*(mg) 0.384±0.04
7 Crude fat (gm) 0.815±0.06
8 Lipids (gm) 2.54±0.6
9 Food energy K. cal 16.26±0.4
10 Mineral content(gm) 5.6±0.3

Carotenes protect the skin from UV radiation. In addition to provitamin A activity, β–carotene act as an antioxidant that protected against cancer [21-23], heart diseases [24-26], macular degeneration [27] and ageing [28]. Ascorbic acid is well known as an essential nutrient because of its curative effect on scurvy, caused by a deficiency of vitamin–C since 1747 [29-31].

Table 2: Vitamins per 100 gm fresh tissue

S. No. Vitamins Result
1 Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin-C) 1.10±0.7 mg
2 Carotenoids (pro vitamin–A) 29±0.8 mg
3 Vitamin-A 49995±1.6 IU
4 Retinol 15±1.2 mg

In recent years plant containing antioxidants are in great demand as they inhibit the oxidation of organic molecules, are very important, not only for food preservation, but also for the defense of living systems against oxidative stress [32]. N. physaloides were found to be the good source of antioxidants like lycopene, anthocyanin, chlorophyll and phenols (table 3). Eating food rich in chlorophyll has the added benefit of correcting excess acidity and thus reducing the incidence of ill health and osteoporosis [33]. Phenolic antioxidants interrupt the propagation of the free radical autoxidation chain by contributing a hydrogen atom from a phenolic hydroxyl group, with the formation of a relatively stable free radical that does not initiate or propagate further oxidation processes [34].

Table 3: Antioxidants per mg/100 gm fresh tissue

S. No. Antioxidants Result
1 Lycopene 5.92±0.3
2 Anthocyanin 0.896±0.03
3 ChlorophyllChlorophyll-aChlorophyll-bTotal Chlorophyll 2.58±0.42.34±0.54.91±0.1
4 Phenols 0.0019±0.06

Minerals form an important part of nutrition. Mineral content was estimated in terms of ash yield. Ash analysis was done following nutritional as well as pharmacognostic parameters (table no. 4).

Table 4: Qualitative and quantitative mineral profile (mg/100 gm dry wt)

S. No. Minerals Result
Qualitative Qualitative
1 Phosphorus ++
2 Sodium ++
3 Calcium ++
4 Potassium ++
5 Iron +
6 Sulphur ++
7 Magnesium +++
8 Aluminium +

Screening of Nicandra fruits for bioactive molecules showed the presence of alkaloids, steroids, tannins, and polyoses which respectively possesses the central nervous system depressant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinutritional, anti-allergic and anti-wrikle properties. This makes the species therapeutically more important.

When compared with the nutrient values of some conventional fruits (table no. 5) It showed that at least in certain respect fruits of Nicandra are more nutritional. Protein and fat content is higher than that reported in L. esculentum, P. ixocarpa and P. peruviana.

Table 5: Comparative nutrient values of fruit vegetable per 100 gm fresh weight

Nicandra physaloides Lycopersicon esculentum Physalis ixocarpa Physalis peruviana
Moisture 77.36 94.9 91.7 82.9
Crude Fiber (gm) 6.56 0.8 0.6 3.2
Protein (N x 6.25) (gm) 2.428 0.9 0.7 1.8
Fat (gm) 0.815 0.2 0.6 0.2
Carbohydrate (gm) 0.61 3.6 5.8 11.1
Vitamin–C (mg) 1.15 27 02 49
ß–Carotene (mg) 30 351 48 1428
Minerals (gm) 1.26 0.5 0.6 0.8
Calcium (mg) 12.67 48 7 10
Phosphorus (mg) 11.65 20 40 67
Sodium (mg) 10.14 12.9 0.4 0.9
Iron (mg) 1.84 0.64 1.4 2.0
Potassium (mg) 456 146 243 320

* Values from Gopalan et al., 2004 (NA–values not available)

Similarly the fruits have high crude fibre content than others. Intake fibre can stimulate weakening hunger, increasing excretion of bile acids, risk of coronary heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes [35-37]. The concentration of minerals was found to be higher than those of L. esculentum, P. ixocarpa and P. peruviana. It is shown that the plant is a good source of micronutrient. Iron content was found to be higher than L. esculentu and P. ixocarpa while nearer to the value of P. peruviana. Iron is an essential for hemoglobin formation, normal functioning of the central nervous system and in the oxidation of carbohydrates, protein and fats [38]. Calcium and sodium content are higher than P. ixocarpa and P. peruviana. Potassium content is maximum than all the fruits compared.


The study confirmed the nutritional as well as medicinal potential of fruits of N. physaloides. Many fruits from the family solanaceae are exploited for edible purpose, advocacy of N. physaloides fruits as a new source of edible fruit enrich the healthy fruit basket. It would become the easy source of nutrional supplement due to their simple cultivation through seeds. Still the more studies are required on its toxicity.


We are thankful to Director, Govt. Vidarbha Institute of Science and Humanities, Amravati (M. S., India) for providing necessary laboratory facilities. We are also thankful to the tribals of North Maharashtra for sharing their knowledge.


Declared None


  1. Kuhnlein HV. Nutrient values in indigenous wild berries used by the Nuxalk people of bella Coola, British Columbia. J Food Comp Anal 1989;2:28-36.
  2. Mann AS, Jain NK, Kharya MD. Antimicrobial studies on nicandra physaloides. Niger J Nat Prod Med 2008;11:71-4.
  3. Devi P, Meera R, Muthumani P, Chilakalapudi R, Thota V, Murthy DVD, et al. Evaluation of alcoholic and aqueous extracts of Nicandra physaloides leaves for its diuretic activity. Int J Pharm Biol Arch 2010;1(4):331-4.
  4. Kunkel G. Plants for Human consumption. Koenigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books; 1984.
  7. Thimmaiah SR. Standard Methods of Biochemical Analysis. New Delhi: Kalyani Publishers; 1999.
  8. Sadasivam S, Manikam A. Biochemical Methods. 2nd ed. New Delhi: New Age International (P) Limited Publishers; 2005.
  9. Harborne JB. Phytochemical methods. London: Chapman and Hall Limited; 1973.
  10. Gibbs RD. Chemotaxanomy of flowering plants. Montreal: Mc. Gill Queen’s University Press; 1974.
  11. Peach K, Tracey MV. Modern methods of plants analysis (Rpr. Edn.). New Delhi: Narosa Publication; 1979.
  12. Chabra SC, Ulso F, Mshin EN. Phytochemical screening of tanzanian medicinal plants. J. Ethnopharmacol 1984;11:151-79.
  13. Evans WC, Trease GE. Pharmacognosy. 14th ed. Singapore: WB Saunders Company Limited; 1997.
  14. Kokate CK, Purohit AP, Gokhale SB. Pharmacognosy. Pune: Nirali Prakashan; 1998.
  15. Kulkarni PH, Apte BK. Research Methodology for students of Ayurveda. Pune: Ayurveda Research Institute; 2000.
  16. Johanson DA. Plant Microtechnique. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Grawhill Publishing Company, Ltd; 1940.
  17. Gupta AK, Varshney ML. Practical Manual on Agricultural Chemistry. IInd Ed, Kalyani publishers, New Delhi; 1997.
  18. Elegbede JA. Legumes. In: Osagie AU, Eka OU. Nutritional quality of plant foods. Benin: Post harvest research unit, University of Benin; 1998. p. 53-83.
  19. Chatterjee IB. L–ascorbic acid, synthesis in birds: phylogenetic trend. Sci 1969;164:435-6.
  20. Chaudhari CR, Chatterjee IB. Evolution and the biosynthesis of ascorbic acid. Sci 1973;182:1271-2.
  21. Gerster H. Anticarcinogenic effect of common carotenoids. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1993;63:93-121.
  22. Peto R, Doll R, Buckley JD, Spom MB. Can dietary beta-carotene materially reduce human cancer rates? Nat 1981;290:201-8.
  23. Van Poppel G, Goldbohm RA. Epidemiological evidence for g-carotene and cancer prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62(1):3938-4028.
  24. Kohlmeier L, Hastings S. Epidemiological evidence of a role of carotenoids in cardiovascular disease prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:1370.
  25. Gey KF, Moser UK, Jordan P, Stahelin HB, Eichholzer M, Ludin E. Increased risk of Cardiovascular disease at suboptimal plasma concentrations of essential antioxidants: an epidemiological update with special attention to carotene and vitamin C. Am J Clin Nutr 1993;57:787-97.
  26. Street DA, Comstock GW, Salkeld RM, Schuep W, Klag MJ. Serum antioxidants and myocardial infarction: are low levels of carotenoids and alpha-tocopherol risk factors for myocardial infarction? Circulation 1994;90:1154-61.
  27. Snodderley DM. Evidence for protection against age-related macular degeneration by carotenoids and antioxidant vitamins. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:1448-61.
  28. Ames BN, Shigenaga M, Hagen TM. Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1993;90:7915-22.
  29. MaCollum EV. A history of nutrition: The sequence of ideas in nutrition investigations. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; 1957.
  30. Goodman LS, Gilman A. The pharmacological basis of Therapeutics. Mc-Graw–Hill, USA; 1996.
  31. Chitlangia R, Mukherjee R. As winter sets in vitamin–C vanishes from shop. The Times of India, New Delhi; 2008.
  32. Janab M, Thompson LU. Role of Phytic acid in cancer and other diseases. In: N R Reddy, SK Sathe. Food Phytates. CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL; 2002. p. 225-48.
  34. Masuda T, Inaba Y, Maekawa T, Takeda Y, Yamaguchi H, Nakamoto K et al. Simple detection method of powerful antiradical compounds in the raw extract of plants and its application for the identification of antiradical plant constituents. J of Agric and Food Chem 2003;51:1831-38.
  35. Gorecka D, Lampart-Szczapa E, Janitz W, Sokolowska B. Composition of fractional and functional properties of dietary fibre of Lupines (L. luteus and L. albus). Nahrung 2000;44:229-32.
  36. Ishida H, Suzuno H, Sugiyama N, Innami S, Todokoro T, Maekawa A. Nutritional evaluation of chemical component of leaves stalks and stems of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas Poir.). Food Chem 2000;68:359–67.
  37. Ramula P, Rao PU. Dietary fibre content of fruits and leafy vegetables. Nutrition News 2003;24:1-6.
  38. Adeyeye E. The chemical composition of liquid and solid endosperm of ripe coconut. Orient J Chem 2004;20:471-8.

About this article





Additional Links

Manuscript Submission


International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research
Vol 7, Issue 2, 2015 Page: 60-63

Online ISSN



153 Views | Downloads

Authors & Affiliations

Prachi P. Kshirsagar
Agharkar Research Institute, G. G. Agharkar Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411004

Prabha Y. Bhogaonkar
Department of Botany, Govt. Vidarbha Institute of science and Humanities, Amravati–Maharashtra 444604


  • There are currently no refbacks.