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Abstract

Irvingia (bush mango) species are economically important trees, but studies aimed at their prospect for domestication did not take into account the potential differences between members of the Genus. Hence fruit size, postharvest pathology and phytochemicals of I. gabonensis and I. wombolu were studied. Results showed that whilst the mean weight, length, width and thickness of fruits of I. gabonensis were 125.08g, 60.85mm, 62.66mm and 56.78mm, respectively, those obtained from I. wombolu were 86.08g, 54.23mm, 54.09mm and 50.97mm, respectively. Difference in brownish-black rot fruit disease between the two Irvingia species was not significant (P=0.05), but disease severity increased correspondingly with increase in storage days. Four genera of fungi (Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Mucor) were isolated from fruits of both Irvingia species, and I. wombolu was found to sustain a significantly lower fungal population (7.76E+07 cfu) than I. gabonensis (1.05E+08 cfu). High fungal population led to a correspondingly high severity of brownish-black rot disease. Fruits of both Irvingia species possessed all five phytochemicals (alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins and glucosides). However, whilst both species had the same amounts of flavonoids and glycosides, I. wombolu possessed relatively higher amounts of alkaloids, saponins and tannins than I. gabonensis. I. wombolu may be the preferred choice if domestication would be based on phytochemicals. In like manner, I. gabonensis may be the preferred choice for domestication if taste, weight and size of fruits were the parameters of interest.

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