Characterization of Nutrients in the Leaves and Fruits of Embaúba (Cecropia Pachystachya) Trécul

Elaine Cristina de Souza Lima, Marcia Barreto da Silva Feijó, Edna Ribeiro dos Santos, Armando U.O. Sabaa-Srur, Rensheng Luo, Thomas Dobbs, Robert E Smith


The fruits and leaves of the embaúba tree (Cecropia Pachystachya Trécul) harvested in the region of the state of Rio de Janeiro were analyzed for moisture, protein, fat, ash, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, carbohydrates, pH, acidity and minerals. The fresh fruit and leaves had 71.8 and 62.4% moisture, 0.54 and 1.13% protein, 0.68 and 0.46% total fat, 0.50 and 0.96% ash, 0.11 and 0.19% soluble fiber, 2.60 and 2.19% insoluble fiber, 23.8 and 32.7% total carbohydrates, 0.04 and 0.06% acidity and pH values of 5.98 and 5.1, respectively. The fruit and leaves are also good sources of magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe). They provide >100% of the dietary reference intake (DRI) for adults. Lyophilized fruits and leaves were also extracted by hot, pressurized, dry methanol (100°C, 10 MPa). This solubilized 27% of the fruit and 15% of the leaves. The extract was partitioned between water and methylene chloride (CH2Cl2). The amphiphilic compounds went into the CH2Cl2 phase. They accounted for 2.13% and 5.15% of the lyophilized fruit and leaves, respectively. The amino acid concentrations were also measured. NMR analysis showed that the methanolic extract contained primarily fatty acid glycosides, with smaller amounts of aromatic compounds. The NMR spectra of the amphiphilic compounds showed the presence of triglycerides in the fruit, but not the leaves. This will give regulators several ways of determining whether or not food products labeled as containing embauba are genuine. In addition, it will help regulators decide if embaúba should be classified as generally regarded as safe (GRAS). It will also help regulators decide what should be on the label for food products made from embauba.


Embaúba tree, Cecropia Pachystachya, fruits, leaves, chemical composition

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