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Leaves and fruits of indigenous African nightshades are an important nutrient-dense food for local people in Sub-Saharan Africa and other places of the world. The cultivation and marketing of these plants is an important income source locally and regionally. A long concern of the potential existence of toxic glycoalkaloids in these plants, however, inhibits the promotion of these plants to a wider area. In our lab, chemical profiling of nightshades by LC-MS, column chromatography, GC-MS and NMR and other analytical techniques, along with toxicity assays are being or will be conducted to fully investigate the consumability of these plants. This study is part of a joint efforts to improve nutrition and economy in poor areas of Africa.


2015-2020. USAID/Hort. Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research. Income and Nutrition of Smallholder Farmers in Eastern Africa Using African Indigenous Vegetables. The major goals of this project is to study the impact of how nutrient-rich African Indigenous Vegetables can impact dietary diversity and human nutrition in rural households in Kenya and Zambia. Rutgers conducts the analytical chemistry for nutrient composition and phytochemistry and characterization of anti-nutritive factors. Project includes a consortium of US and Africa-based universities and other partners. Wu serves as a collaborating investigator, leading the phytochemistry and nutritional plant composition.


2020. Yuan, B., F.F. Dinssa, J.E. Simon and Q.L. Wu. Simultaneous quantification of polyphenols, glycoalkaloids and saponins in African nightshade leaves using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry with acid assisted hydrolysis and multivariate analysis. Food Chemistry 312: