Submitted to: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2006
Publication Date: 11/15/2006
Citation: Schauss, A.G., Wu, X., Prior, R.L., Ou, B., Patel, D., Huang, D., Kababick, J.P. 2006. Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 54(22):8598-8603. Interpretive Summary: Fruits are known to be excellent sources of nutrients and other compounds thought to be important in health maintenance. The fruit known as acai was previously demonstrated to exhibit significantly high antioxidant capacity and, therefore, may have possible health benefits. In this study, we further evaluated the composition of this fruit and identified many nutrients and other compounds that might have biological effects. These results suggest that this fruit would be an excellent food to study for potential disease prevention effects in the future.
Technical Abstract: Euterpe oleraceae is a large palm tree indigenous to the Amazon River and its tributaries and estuaries in South America. Its fruit, known as acai, is of great economic value to native people. In this study, a standardized freeze-dried acai fruit pulp/skin powder was used for all analyses and tests. Among many findings, anthocyanins (ACNs), proanthocyanidins (PACs), and other flavonoids were found to be the major phytochemicals. Two ACNs, cyandin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-rutinoside were found to be predominant ACNs; three others were also found as minor ACNs. The total content of ACNs was measured as 3.1919 mg/g dry weight (DW). Polymers were found to be the major PACs. The concentration of total PACs was calculated as 12.89 mg/g DW. Other flavonoids, namely, homoorientin, orientin, isovitexin, scoparin, and taxifolin deoxyhexose, along with several unknown flavonoids, were also detected. Resveratrol was found but at a very low concentration. In addition, components including fatty acids, amino acids, sterols, minerals, and other nutrients were analyzed and quantified. Total polyunsaturated fatty acid, total monounsaturated fatty acid, and total saturated fatty acids contributed to 11.1%, 60.2%, and 28.7% of total fatty acid. Oleic acid (53.9%) and palmitic acid (26.7%) were found to be the two dominant fatty acids. Nineteen amino acids were found; the total amino acid content was determined to be 7.59% of total weight. The total sterols accounted for 0.048% by weight of powder. The three sterols B-sitosterol, campesterol, and sigmasterol were identified. A complete nutrient analysis is also presented. Microbiological analysis was also performed.