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Carotenoid content and traditional knowledge of breadfruit cultivars of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Englberger, L. and Lorennij, R. and Taylor, M. and Tuia, V.S. and Aalbersberg, William G.L. and Dolodolotawake, Usaia and Tibon, L. and Tibon, J. and Alfred, J. (2013) Carotenoid content and traditional knowledge of breadfruit cultivars of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, NA . NA. ISSN 0889-1575

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Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and non-communicable diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, are serious health problems in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), a small island nation of the Pacific. These health problems are related to the trend towards over-consumption of unhealthy imported processed foods and neglect of traditional foods. Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis and Artocarpus mariannensis) is the most widely available traditional starch food for Marshall Islands people. The ripe fruit flesh is yellow or sometimes orange, as with the Mejwaan cultivar, indicative of carotenoid content. Carotenoid-rich foods can protect against VAD and non-communicable diseases. Yet little information on carotenoid content of Marshallese breadfruit cultivars is available. This study documents traditional knowledge of breadfruit cultivars using ethnography, and analyzed 6 breadfruit cultivars of 2 species, A. altilis and A. mariannensis, for provitamin A (β- and α-carotene) and total carotenoid content, of using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The ripe seeded breadfruit Mejwaan contained strikingly rich concentrations of β-carotene (3540 μg/100 g fresh weight). Samples of other ripe and mature cultivars, characterized by lighter-colored flesh, contained-medium to low-carotenoid content (<5–102 μg/100 g fresh weight). As samples were harvested from field-grown plants, it should be noted that the quantity of carotenoids may vary when the same cultivars are planted in different sites. Local experts reported that Mejwaan was once common but is now becoming rare, and that people are now consuming its ripe flesh much less frequently; the discovery of Mejwaan's rich carotenoid content should be used to promote this cultivar for its important health benefits.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Still awaiting full bibliographic details from the publisher.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
T Technology > TX Home economics
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > Institute of Applied Science
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2013 04:00
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 02:50

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