PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF WILDLIFE GEOPHAGIC SOIL: A PRELIMINARYASSESSMENT FOR POSSIBLE UTILIZATION IN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES
AbstractThe act of consuming soil (geophagy) has been reported both in man and wildlife. Most previous studies have concentrated more on various type of geophagic soilswith less attention on termite mounds (TMs), thus limiting our understanding the cause(s) of geophagy. This study investigated the physico-chemical constituents of wildlife geophagic TMsincomparison with non-geophagic forest soil (FS). Composite soil samples were collected each from four different TMs and a FS. Samples were analyzed for pH, texture, electrical conductivity (EC), water retention capacity (WRC), moisture content (MC) and colour.Soils were analyzed in triplicates following standard methods. Datagenerated were analyzed statisticallywith SPSS version 17.Theresult indicated acidic pH for both TMs(strongly to slightly acidic) and FS (slightly acidic). Clay content, EC, WRC and MC were significantly higher in TMs than FS.The colour of TMs ranged from reddish brown(4R 4/5) to dark brown (2.5R 5/7 or 5R 6/8) as against that of FS which was black (2R 2/4). Wildlife may be consuming TMs in preference to FS for; detoxification (high clay content), ant-diarrhea (high WRC and MC), Fe-supplement (brown colour of TMs) and dissolved salt content (high EC). Detailed studies intomineralogical and microbiological compositions of TMs may be needed to further justify the rolesof geophagy in wildlife.
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