Rolim, L. A. et al. (2001) Genotoxicity Evaluation of Moringa oleifera Seed Extract and Lectin. Journal of Food Science [Internet], 76 (2) March, pp. T53-T58. Available from: [Accessed 24th February 2013]. Introduction In the past years, the use of novel and more natural substances to provide alternative treatments and improvement in various aspects of the human life and environment has raised many questions on whether these are safer than the traditional methods.
Water treatment using an extract from the seed of Moringa oleifera is an example to these alternative approaches. The aim of the study was clearly identified as an assessment of the genotoxicity of Moringa oleifera seed powder and the water- soluble Moringa oleifera lectin, which can be isolated from the seeds. The purpose of the study was well stated in both abstract and introduction, however the hypothesis was not stated within the text. Moreover, the title of the paper precisely states the subject to be analysed, thereby demonstrating clarity and specificity.
Upon analysing the overall significance of the study according to the author’s justifications and literature review. It was noticed that there was a great variety of opinions and finds stated in the introduction regarding the many uses of similar natural compounds in medicine and public health. These covered both the positive and negative aspects related to the use of other natural compounds, the outcomes of studies performed using Moringa oleifera seed powder itself and the finds on the effects of Lectin on a range of organisms.
The author’s have successfully included valid points to Justify the purpose of their research as well as ensuring that these points related directly to the purpose of the study. The Genotoxicity Evaluation of Moringa oleifera Seed Extract and Lectin study was funded by the Conselho nacional de Desenvolvimanto Cientifico e Tecnologico, the Fundacao de Amparo a Ciencia e Tecnologia do estado de Pernambuco and the Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior. Moreover, it was pubished in the volume 76, issue 2 of the Journal of Food and Science in 2001.
Methods In this study, the authors used Ames, Microsuspension Mutagenicity assy (Kado) and Cell free plasmid DNA test in order to assess any DNA damage caused by the Moringa oleifera Seed Extract. The Ames method of genotoxicity testing has been idely used in laboratories in order to identify substances able to cause structural changes in the DNA of different strains of Salmonella. The Kado tests is a modification of the original AMES test, which the authors claimed to be more sensitive than the original but evidence to support it has not been within the text. alid for studying the problem in question. In general the different methods presented were well explained and reproducible. The seed extraction method was especially simple and described in the right amount of detail allowing for an easy reproduction. The range of extract concentrations used as related to the concentration mostly likely to used in the water treatment process for human consumption, thereby increasing the validity of the method and worthiness of the results in practical applications.
The isolation of Water-soluble Moringa oleifera Lectin (WSMoL) method and Protein content estimation sections were also well explained and reproducible. Although mostly well explained with a great amount of detail presented, the Haemagglutination activity assay method lacked information on the specific temperature in which it was performed and controls used, thereby it would not be possible to reproduce the exact experiment rom the information provided.
The Cell free plasmid DNA test was simple, brief and easy to understand, thereby considered reproducible. The AMES and Kado methods were presented in detail and the easy flow of information made the majority of the applications reproducible. The experiments were performed in triplicates and repeated twice and the only negative aspects of the methods used was related to the clarity in which controls were established, as the types and exposure conditions of the controls used were not easily indentified upon first read and number of controls used were absent.
However, once established, the types of controls used were adequate and the use of positive controls with and without the addition of the metabolic activation agent (S9) indicated whether the compound produces genotoxicity effects on its own as well as when metabolised by liver enzymes, thereby narrowing the origin of the potential mutagenic effects. The controls used in the AMES and Kado tests had the purpose of measuring spontaneous histidine- synthesizing revertants in relation to the induced revertants in order to determine the mutagenicity of the tested substance itself.
Thereby indicating a well thought ethod, which recognises potential variables that might affect the final results of the study. With regards to the sample selection and experimental design, the authors have selected the plasmid and bacterial strains according to previous similar experiments. The metabolic activation method has also been devised from previous similar experiments, thereby minimising potential errors.
The seed extract method has reflected the methods used by the people who purify and drink this type of water on a daily basis, which increases the relevance of the results obtained. Overall, the materials and methods section was appropriately divided with the dequate amount and type of information being allocated to each of the subheadings. This structure has made the whole section easer to understand with a good flow of information being applied throughout.
Results flow of information would have been better presented if two sections with individual headings had been allocated for the results and discussion respectively. The results section was however, concise and well summarized with only relevant information present. The data was presented in tables and fgures with adequate and explanatory titles and legends, allowing for a better understanding of what was presented. Moreover, there were no discrepancies between the results shown in the tables/fgure and the results stated in the text.
Thereby, the authors have successfully used the results section to complement the data presented in tables and fgures and making the concept easier to understand. Although the hypothesis was not stated in the article, the results obtained reflected the aim of the study, which was to provide an evaluation on the genotoxicity of Moringa oleifera seed extract and Lectin. Thereby, revealing what was indented by the researchers. The statistical tests used were Analysis of variance (ANOVA) where a P value of