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Nutritional values of some commercial edible bamboo species of the North Eastern Himalayan region, India

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The North Eastern Himalayan (NEH) region of India has a great diversity of bamboo resource and the tribal communities of the region use young succulent shoots of various bamboo species as vegetable, pickles, salad, etc., from May to September every year. Out of 25 edible bamboo species identified for the region, 11 species, i.e., Bambusa balcooa Roxb., B. nutans Wall. ex Munro, B. tulda Roxb., Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro in Trans., D. hamiltonii Nees et. Arn, D. hookerii Munro in Trans., D. longispathus Kurz, D. sikkimensis Gamble, Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz, Phyllostachys bambusoides Sieb. and Zucc. and Teinostachyum wightii Beddome have been found as potential species, which are sold in the markets by primary or secondary vendors in fresh, fermented, boiled or roasted form. Besides their occurrence in forests, these edible species are also cultivated in home gardens. This paper reports the nutritional values on some major edible bamboo species of the region. For different species, food energy ranged from 14.6 to 16.9 MJ/kg and ash content from 2.1 to 3.7%. For different species, crude fibre content ranged between 23.1 and 35.5%, fat between 0.6 and 1.0%, and carbohydrate between 4.5 and 5.2%. Among various species, the protein content was determined to be high in D. hamiltonii, P. bambusoides, T. wightii and B. balcooa. Young edible bamboo shoots were also found rich in macronutrients, particularly in calcium with a range of 1.2–1.9 g/100 g. The potassium content ranged from 0.02 to 0.03 g/100 g, phosphorus from 0.5 to 1.0 g/100 g and magnesium from 0.04 to 0.05 g/100 g. Edible shoots were also rich in vitamins. Among species, the ascorbic acid ranged from 3.0 to 12.9 mg/100 g, tryptophan from 0.4 to 1.7 g/16 g N and methionine from 0.3 to 0.8 g/16 g N. Hydrocyanic acid (HCN) content was also available in edible shoots; however, the range varied from 0.01 to 0.02%. The study showed that Dendrocalamus spp, M. baccifera and P. bambusoides need to be included in various afforestation programmes in the region where shifting cultivation has already caused serious environmental degradation. It will serve the twin purpose of restoration of degraded lands and production of edible shoots for consumption of various ethnic groups of the region.


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