Thursday, July 23, 2015


SAPODILLA (Manilkara zapota or Manikara sapota) are one of the unique tropical fruits grown in Malaysia for fresh consumption. Sapodilla or sapota (locally called as 'Ciku' in Malaysia and 'Sawo' in Indonesia ) is another popular tropical fruit in line with mango, banana, jackfruit, pineapple and many others. Sapota composes of soft, easily digestible pulp made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose (See photo above). Sapota is a tropical evergreen, fruit-bearing tree belongs to the family of Sapotaceae  and able to reach 20 meters in height. Sapote thought to have originated in the central American rain forests, probably in Mexico and Belize. Today its cultivation has spread all over the tropical belt and is being grown as a major commercial crop in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. The tree is one of fast growing, wind and drought resistant, and it flourishes well even under dry arid regions receiving scanty rains. However, water irrigation during summer would results in good fruit yields. Each sapodilla fruit is a berry; round or oval, measures about 10 cm in diameter, and weigh about 150 g. A tree bears as many as 2,000 fruits per year all year round but normally has two peak seasons.

Sapota fruit has grey or brown, sandy and look like “kiwifruit” at glance but the outer surface but without the fuzziness. The young fruit are brown colour but it bwcome dark brown whe reach ripe stage. Unripe fruits possess white, hard, inedible pulp that secrete sticky latex containing toxic substance saponin. This milky latex gradually disappears and its white flesh turns brown as the fruit ripe. Once ripen, it becomes soft, aquires sweet taste and smooth or grainy texture with slight musky flavor. It contains about 3-10 black, smooth, shiny “biconvex or bean” shaped, inedible seeds, located at its center. The harvesting process of this fruit are critical due to the soft skin will damage upon drop to the dround. Therefore the farmers has to pluck manually each fruits. It was kept for few days for ripening process. Fresh sapota fruit process about RM 8.00 - RM10.00 per kilogram and worth eating as fresh fruit. The sweet taste and special aroma able to improve health. 

Health benefits of sapodilla according to the lab test are valuable. Sapodilla is one of the high calorie fruits in which 100 g provides 83 calories (almost same as that of calories in sweet potato, and banana). Additionally, it is a very good source of dietary fiber (5.6 g/100g), which makes it an excellent bulk laxative. This fiber content helps relieve constipation episodes and help protect mucousa of colon from cancer-causing toxins. The fruit is rich in antioxidant poly-phenolic compound tannin. Tannins are a complex family of naturally occurring polyphenols. Research studies found that tannins have astringent properties and shown to have potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. Hence, these compounds may found useful applications in traditonal medicines as anti-diarrheal, hemostatic (stops bleeding) and as a remedy for hemorrhoids. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effect of tannins help limit conditions like erosive gastritis, reflux-esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders. Some other fruits that also rich in tannins include pomegranate, persimmon and grapes. Sapote contains a good amount of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C (24.5% of recommended daily intake per 100 g of fruit), and vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has been known to offer protection from lung and oral cavity cancers. So also, consumption of foods containing vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and help scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body. Fresh ripe sapodilla is a good source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for optimal health as they involve in various metabolic processes in the body as cofactors for the enzymes. That's all folks.

M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
(2 Rejab 1436H)

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