PrimarymetabolitesTheprimary metabolites such as amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids and organicacids are commonly found in all species across broad ranging phylogeneticgroups. These compounds are directly related to the growth and development,hormone and protein synthesis, respiration and photosynthesis. The biochemical pathwaysused for modifying and synthesizing these primary metabolites are found to beessentially same in all organisms, apart from minor variations. ProteinProteinsare complex molecules having various compositions of amino acids. They playvital role in regulating body metabolism, cellular function and structure.
Hence they add value to daily diet of consumers. Green leafy vegetables arerich and inexpensive sources of proteins because of their synthesizing abilityof amino acids. Ribulose-I,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase(RUBISCO) is amajor leaf cell protein(accounts to about 50%) which plays a critical role incarbon fixation during photosynthesis.
This is a similar protein found in leafchloroplasts of all green leafy vegetables with minor changes in amino acidbase for different species. Recent research reported that green leafy vegetables such as broccoli (Brassicaoleracea var. Italic), duckweed (Lemnaperpusilla) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) render all the essential amino acids that meet the FAO nutritionstandards. Studies have also proven that cassava(Manihot esculenta) leaves has amino acid profile balanced withpulse and dairy products. The protein content in Africanleafy vegetables such as green leaves of septic weed(Senna occidentalis) and cassava(7 g /100 g of fresh weight) is greaterthan exotic leafy vegetables such as Brassica oleracea subsp. Capitate(1g/100 g of fresh weight). However, African leafy vegetables has relatively lessprotein content than legume proteins(white lupines (Lupinus albus) with 11.
5 g protein/100g of freshweight). According to prevailingenvironmental conditions and farming practices, the amount of protein in leafyvegetables may vary. Thermal processing inactivates heat-labileanti-nutritional factors such as lectins, goitrogens, thiaminases and proteaseinhibitors. It improves digestibility of proteins and starch but leads toprotein denaturation and hence effects the bioavailability of proteins in leafyvegetables.