• Wahid A. Luvonga Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • M. S. Njoroge Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • A. Makokha Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • P.W. Ngunjiri Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Roselle extract, bioactive properties, functional properties, antioxidant activity, food industry


Antioxidant capacity, phytochemicals, phyto-nutrients and bioactive compounds, have all become buzzwords in
the growing market for natural health food-products and speciality juice drinks. The main objective of this study
was to determine the bioactive compounds in the calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. and evaluate its functional
potential hence provide an incentive to production, processing and consumption of roselle in Kenya where it is not
widely cultivated and utilized. Proximate composition was determined using established AOAC methods.
Antioxidant activity (AA) color degradation index (CDI) and were carried using 1-1 diphenyl picryl hydrazyl radical
(DPPH) and hunters color meter respectively. HPLC, UV-visible spectrophotometer and atomic absorption
spectrophotometer (AAS) were used to determine water soluble vitamins (WSV), total polyphenolic content (TPC)
and mineral composition respectively. Product formulations were done and their consumer acceptability
determined based on a 9-point hedonic. It was found that the properties of roselle extract before and after
pasteurization included pH of 3.88 ± 0.00 and 3.42 ± 0.01, total acidity (as malic acid) of 2.24 ± 0.00 and 2.24 ± 0.03
%, total phenolic contents of 6.06 ± 0.18 and 5.82 ± 0.01 mg/g roselle extract, respectively. The antioxidant
activities using DPPH assay with ascorbic acid standard, expressed as EC50 (Efficient Concentration) were 230.01 ±
2.40 and 235.34 ± 0.79 μg/ml, respectively. Iron and calcium were content was 8.59 ± 0.31 and 14.83 ± 0.60
mg/100g respectively. After sensory analysis, the pure roselle drink was generally more acceptable in taste, flavor,
aroma, consistency and overall characteristics with an average overall score of 7.6 out of 9 in comparison with
Rosela orange drink, rosella apple drink and rosella melon drink. These properties give roselle the potential as a
functional ingredient in beverage manufacture and other applications such as utilisation in polymeric natural color
development. Roselle can also be applied in the food industry for manufacture of red wine and roselle fruit
flavored preserves, thus exhibiting great potential in commercial application in the food and pharmaceutical
industry. More studies for in-vivo properties of Roselle extracts are however needed, to further substantiate the
health claims of roselle extract in human nutrition.