Comparative phytochemical investigations for standardization of some spices available in Pakistan

Author : Najma Shaheen, Iqbal Azhar, Zeb-un-nisa and Zafar Alam Mahmood

Spices have been reported to contain a large number of phytochemicals capable of producing color, exceptional taste and aroma, apart from promising biological activity. Being an integral part of culinary, the utilization of standardized spices in various raw and processed food has now been observed to be quite demanding and necessary to obtain desired effects from various spices. Present study deals with the phytochemical investigations of ten different spices commonly available and used in Pakistan with the aim to use the findings as a tool for standardization process. The spices tested include; black pepper, caraway, cardamom large, cardamom small, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin seed, red chili and turmeric. The phytochemical screening results of the spices indicated the presence of alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, carbohydrates, fixed oils, fats, cardiac glycosides, steroids, sterols and terpenoids. The presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, phenols, steroids and sterols, fixed oils and fats were confirmed in all the ten spices used in the study. Saponins and tannins in all spices with the exception of clove and turmeric. Presence of carbohydrates were observed in eight spices except black pepper and cinnamon, while proteins detected in six spices with the exception of cardamom small, cinnamon, clove and coriander. In all spices coumarins were observed except red chili and turmeric. Our analysis confirmed the presence of mucilage in cardamom large, cardamom small, cinnamon, clove and in turmeric only. The phlobatannins results were positive only in black pepper and cardamom large. The presence or absence of various phytochemicals as recoded in the present study were quite comprehensive and trust to provide immense opportunity to draw a guideline to use these findings for the standardization of commercial samples of spices.

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