Determination of Metals by Atomic Absorption Spectrometry in Unripe Plantain Peels Ash and Comparative Genotoxicity Studies with Kaun “Potash” Using Gel Electrophoresis and Diphenylamine Assay

C. S. Alaribe, A. R. Oladipupo, S. Gbadamosi, T. T. Emuejevoke, K. A. Bashiru


Every segment of society uses minerals and mineral resources each day for various purposes, including in diet and medications. One of such minerals is kaun, a crude mixture of various salts. Kaun, which is mainly a hydrated sodium carbonate but erroneously locally called “potash”, is the second most popularly used salt to sodium chloride in Nigeria. Interestingly, plantain peel ash has served as an alternative to kaun. Of concern, is the fact that most tribes use these substances in their diet without considering the harmful effect as a result of high intake and also the fact that they may be contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic substances. This study was done to investigate and compare the genotoxic effects of kaun and unripe plantain peels ash (UPPA) on the liver and kidney of mice and to evaluate the phytochemicals and metal content of UPPA. Phytochemical study revealed that tanins and carbohydrates were present in UPPA. Elemental analyses showed that UPPA contained high level of magnesium (32.481 ± 0.007 ppm), low levels of manganese, sodium, zinc and iron (2.285 – 0.720 ppm) and trace levels of chromium, copper, lead and cadmium (0.100 – 0.001 ppm). Acute toxicity study indicated that the LD50 values of kaun and UPPA are greater than 3000 and 6000 mg/kg, respectively. Genotoxicity assessment revealed that kaun and UPPA showed comparable effects on hepatic and renal cells and indicated that both substances may elicit genotoxic effect on hepatic cells, with no toxic effect on renal cells within the same doses and period.

Keywords: Kaun, plantain peel ash, metals, genotoxicity, DPA assay, gel electrophoresis, AAS

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Chemical Society of Nigeria