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Composition and Nutritive Value of Amazonian Palm Fruits

Escriche, I., Restrepo, J., Serra, J. A., Herrera, L. F.
Euterpe precatoria, Helianthus annuus, Mauritia flexuosa, Oenocarpus bataua, alternative foods, carbohydrates, corn, deforestation, dietary fiber, energy, energy content, fatty acid composition, lipid content, market value, mesocarp, nutritive value, oleic acid, olives, seeds, soybean oil, tropical rain forests, vegetable oil
This paper is a contribution to the study of the use of natural resources from tropical moist forests with a view to avoiding deforestation for farming purposes. This study analysed the moisture, fat, protein, ash, total dietary fibre, nitrogen-free extract, and gross energy content of various parts of the fruits of several Amazonian palms belonging to the Aracaceae (Palmae) family—Attalea racemosa, Euterpe precatoria, Mauritia flexuosa, Oenocarpus bataua, and Oenocarpus bacaba—and also the fatty acid content of the oils extracted from the fractions of the fruit with the highest fat content. the high fat content of the mesocarp makes these foods an excellent source of energy, particularly those from A. racemosa, M. flexuosa, and O. bacaba, with fat contents of 58.1, 49.1, and 30.2 g/100 g of sample, respectively. the kernels have a high level of nitrogen-free extract, consisting basically of carbohydrates, particularly those of O. bataua and M. flexuosa, which have 83.9 and 72.5 g/100 g of sample, respectively. Apart from A. racemosa mesocarp oil, the fatty acid content of these oils, particularly oleic acid, is quite similar to that of oils with a high market value, such as olive, sunflower, corn, and soya oil. the cultivation of these species in the forest, just as the natives have always done, should be encouraged, since in addition to being potential sources of high-quality vegetable oils, they are alternative foods for the population in that region because of their nutritive value. the sale of these oils could increase the resources of tropical moist forests, which would in turn contribute considerably to the conservation of the forests.