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Oleanolic acid (OA) and ursolic acid (UA) are isomeric triterpenes that are difficult to separate chromatographically. Studies have indicated that both OA and UA have antifertility properties in several livestock species, suppressing attainment of puberty, gonad function and gamete production. Being able to determine the presence and quantity of the OA and UA in moringa and pawpaw seeds will allow for calculation of optimal inclusion levels of these acids in animal diets for antifertility-activity. The purpose of the study was thus to quantify the levels of OA and UA in Moringa and pawpaw seed powder by means of ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-ESI-MS/MS). Only OA was detected in moringa seeds at a concentration level of 0.508 µg/g ± 0.032 µg/g dry weight. UA and OA could not be detected in pawpaw seeds used in this study. The presence of OA in moringa seeds suggest that the seeds can be included in tilapia diets as a potential antifertility treatment to control precocious breeding in tilapia culture in small scale farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further studies are warranted to determine the levels of OA and UA composition in moringa seeds from other parts of the Sub-Saharan Africa (other than Zambia).


Triterpenoids, OA, moringa seed, antifertility, UA, liquid chromatography.

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