Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)

Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)

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Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

POPULAR USES

The açaí fruit is used for the preparation of the regional beverage, “wine of açaí,” which is a reference to the red-purple color of red wine made with grapes, and is consumed in large quantities throughout the Amazon. It is estimated that the daily consumption reaches 180 thousand liters in Belém. Due to its high nutritional value (calorific content), the “wine-of-açaí” is part of the diet of the population and is the primary source of energetic food, having a superior calorific value and two times more lipids than milk.

Açaí as a food provides the following benefits to the human body (values for 100 g of fruit pulp):

– Total lipids (48 g) and Potassium (932 mg) for essential energy production;
– Proteins for the development of muscles (13.00 g);
– Fiber to help intestinal functions (3.15 g);
– Anthocyanins for the control of cholesterol, which are responsible for the purple color of açaí (926 mg);
– Iron for the oxygenation of blood cells (2.6 mg);
– Vitamin E (α-Tocopherol 45 mg), as an antioxidant for the prevention of cancer;
– Calcium for strengthening of bones and prevention against osteoporosis (386 mg);
– Vitamin B1 for the flexibility and maintenance of the skeleton (0.25 mg).

ECOLOGY

Açaí is found throughout the Amazon basin and is particularly abundant in the eastern region. It is one of the most common palms of the state of Pará, and dominates the landscape, sometimes in almost pure stands. Açaí prefers flooded and wetland areas and easily regenerates. There are two main species of açaí, E. oleracea, which occurs more frequently in the estuary of the Amazon River, and E. precatoria, which is common in the forests of western Amazonia (in the states of Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, and Roraima). Euterpe oleracea develops multiple stems, up to 20 if it is not managed, forming what is called a “cluster.” This undoubtedly makes this species an appropriate tree to cultivate for both palm hearts and fruits. Palm heart can be harvested by selecting only some of the stems, year after year, without killing the individual while it develops new shoots. The removal of older stems corresponds to a form of sustainable management for this palm. On the other hand, E. precatoria forms a solitary stem that inhibits individuals of this species from being used as a source of both palm heart and fruits.

In sustainable managed plantations, both in native açaí formations in the várzea and on terra firme, 400 clusters are recommended per hectare with a space of 5 m around each plant. Estimating a production of 50 kg of fruits per cluster, with 4 stems producing fruits, it is possible for these trees to produce 20 tons of fruit per hectare. In the floodplain the production is 30% higher than on terra firme. The extraction of the açaí oil corresponds to only 1% of the volume of the fruits, which is very low and corresponds to 200 liters per hectare.

REFERENCES

Açaí-solteiro (Euterpe precatoria), uma boa opção de exploração agrícola em Rondônia http://ambientes.ambientebrasil.com.br/ agropecuario/artigo_agropecuario/acai-solteiro.html (acessado 27/05/09).

CALVACANTE, P. B.: Frutas Comestíveis da Amazônia, 1996, 6a Ed , Edições Cejup - Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém. .

MORAIS, L. R. : Banco de Dados Sobre Espécies Oleaginosas da Amazônia, não-publicado .

NASCIMENTO, R. J. : Composição em ácidos graxos do óleo da polpa de açaí extraído com enzimas e com hexano. 2008, Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura, Vol. 30, N° 02 .

ROGEZ, H. Açaí: Preparo, Composição e Melhoramento da Composição. 2000, Belém; EDFPA, pp. 313. .

SHANLEY, P. et. al. : Frutíferas e plantas úteis na vida amazônica, 2005, CIFOR, IMAZON, Editora Supercores, Belém, p. 300 .

Helping Communities

The valorization and sustainable management of the Amazonian rainforest by our community partners strengthens the local economy and contributes decisively to the preservation of the standing forest.