Comparative nutritional analysis of tylosema esculentum (marama bean) germplasm collection in Namibia.

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Malnutrition is a medical condition caused by an unbalanced diet, typically characterised by stunting, wasting and underweight in children. Worldwide, malnutrition causes approximately 45% of all deaths among children under 5 years of age. The largest number of global incidences of malnutrition is observed in developing countries. In Namibia, 24% of children within this age group are stunted while wasting is at 6.2%, (the highest in Southern Africa). The main causes of malnutrition in Namibia are low education of mothers or caregivers of the children and food insecurity usually correlated to the household income. Therefore, treatment efforts usually include nutrition based interventions that involve providing nutritious foods to malnourished children. Protein rich legumes are often used together with cereals to form composite flours. Tylosema esculentum, (Burchell) Schreiber, commonly known as Marama bean may be used to treat malnourished children due to its high nutritious value. Indigenous to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, Marama bean seeds have comparably high protein content ranging between 29% and 39% while lipids are between 32% and 42%. The high nutrition value of Marama bean and its physical attributes allow it to be ground into a flour and used in porridge. Marama bean is an appealing crop to Namibia in particular due to its low cultivation demands as it grows in sandy soils with minimal water requirements and no need for fertilisers.



Malnutrition, Marama Bean, Nutritional Composition, Biofortifier, Crop Domestication


Mataranyika, P. N. (2019). Comparative nutritional analysis of tylosema esculentum (marama bean) germplasm collection in Namibia. (Unpublished master's thesis). Namibia University of Science and Technology,