Main content area

Biology, phytochemical profile and prospects for snake fruit: An antioxidant-rich fruit of South East Asia

Mazumdar, Purabi, Pratama, Howgen, Lau, Su-Ee, Teo, Chee How, Harikrishna, Jennifer Ann
Trends in food science & technology 2019 v.91 pp. 147-158
Salacca zalacca, antioxidants, apples, breeding, chemical constituents of plants, farmers, farming systems, fruits, genetic markers, germplasm, harvesting, kiwifruit, mangoes, minerals, nutrient content, orchards, phenolic compounds, phenotype, phytochemicals, postharvest losses, postharvest technology, stone fruits, supply chain, therapeutics, value-added products, vitamins, volatile compounds, world markets, Indonesia
Snake fruit (Salacca zalacca) is a unique tropical palm that bears fruit, botanically known as drupes, with a leathery and scaly skin that resembles snake scales. A number of studies have demonstrated that the nutritional profile of this fruit is comparable to those of better known fruits like mango, kiwi and apple, owing to its richness in antioxidants, phenolics, vitamins and minerals. Despite immense food and medicinal benefits, snake fruit is still underutilized and unknown to the global market.To gain empirical knowledge on snake fruit farming from propagation to harvesting, we interviewed four farmers during our educational visit to two snake fruit orchards located at the Desa Pertapahan (Riau) and Kampar Balige (North Sumatra), Indonesia. In this review, we link together the knowledge shared by farmers and current information extracted from literature, to generate a baseline understanding of the agronomy, nutrient, phytochemical and volatile composition, therapeutic potency and future potential for the snake fruit industry.We identify the key challenges for improved utilization of snake fruit as a lack of baseline data on superior germplasm, post-harvest losses and the lack of a sustainable module for knowledge transfer. Evaluation of correlation among genotypic and phenotypic attributes and application of molecular markers will be helpful to select superior germplasm and breeding materials. Scientific research on post-harvest technology, considering the physiology and biochemistry of the fruit, will be beneficial to minimize post-harvest losses. Furthermore, a transparent knowledge sharing module involving the farmers, workers, researchers and exporters will be useful to establish the supply chains for snake fruit and their value-added products in the global market.