DOCUMENTATION, NUTRITIONAL CONTENT, TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND CONSERVATION OF MARSHALL ISLANDS BREADFRUIT CULTIVARS
Breadfruit, Artocarpus mariannensis and Artocarpus altilis, is an important traditional staple food for the people of the Marshall Islands, located in the Pacific. However, its nutritional benefits are not recognized. In the Pacific generally, nutrition-related health problems of epidemic proportion (including high rates of vitamin A deficiency) exist, due to neglect of traditional food systems, cultivar rarity, changing lifestyles, migration to urban centers, increasing reliance on unhealthy imported foods, and food security vulnerability. The lack of nutrition information on breadfruit has contributed to its low value, in particular for seeded breadfruit Artocarpus mariannensis. This study focused on provitamin A carotenoid (beta-carotene) content of eight breadfruit cultivars, including ripe raw seeded breadfruit flesh, which previously was a common snack. As there is no opportunity for carotenoid analysis on this remote island, frozen samples must be hand-carried to faraway laboratories, which presented great challenges. The study also focused on traditional knowledge of existing breadfruit cultivars and safe propagation of breadfruit cultivars in tissue culture. For the first time, clear evidence was shown that the ripe under-utilized orange-fleshed seeded breadfruit Mejwaan, contains rich concentrations of beta-carotene (3540 µg/100 g), in contrast to samples of other ripe and mature cultivars characterized by lighter colored flesh. The results can be used to promote breadfruit and open new market opportunities. The findings can also be used by other Pacific islands, especially atolls, where this breadfruit cultivar has been a traditional food, and where nutrition-related health problems, food production, food security vulnerability and climate change are serious issues.
Englberger, L., Lorennij, R. and Taylor, M. (2013). DOCUMENTATION, NUTRITIONAL CONTENT, TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND CONSERVATION OF MARSHALL ISLANDS BREADFRUIT CULTIVARS. Acta Hortic. 979, 93-96
Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus mariannensis, health, carotenoid content, ethnographic approach