Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 160–166 | Cite as

Phenolics, Sugars, Antimicrobial and Free-Radical-Scavenging Activities of Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq. Fruits from the Dominican Republic and Florida

  • Laura M. BystromEmail author
  • Betty A. Lewis
  • Dan L. Brown
  • Eloy Rodriguez
  • Ralph L. Obendorf
Original Paper


Edible fruits of the native South American tree Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq. are consumed fresh or in traditional food, drink and medicinal preparations. Some therapeutic effects of these fruits may be due to phenolics and sugars. Aqueous acetone, methanol or ethanol tissue extracts of different cultivars or collections of M. bijugatus fruits from the Dominican Republic and Florida were analyzed for total phenolics and free radical scavenging activity by UV-vis spectroscopy, sugars by gas chromatography, and antimicrobial activity by the disc diffusion assay. Total phenolics and free radical scavenging activities ranked: seed coat > embryo > pulp extracts. Montgomery cultivar fruits had the highest total phenolics. For sugars: pulp > embryo and highest in Punta Cana fruit pulp. In all extracts: sucrose > glucose and fructose. Glucose:fructose ratios were 1:1 (pulp) and 0.2:1 (embryo). Pulp extracts had dose-response antibacterial activity and pulp and embryo extracts had antifungal activity against one yeast species. Phenolics and sugars were confirmed with thin-layer chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance. Sugar-free pulp fractions containing phenolics had slightly more antimicrobial activity than H2O-soluble pulp fractions with sugars. Results indicate M. bijugatus fruits contain phenolics, sugars and other H2O-soluble compounds consistent with therapeutic uses.


Antimicrobial activity Antioxidant activity Fruits Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq. Sugars Total phenolics 



Supported in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH Grant no. 5 T32 DK007158-31, this work was part of a PhD thesis, Cornell University (Bystrom, 2007). We thank Wendy Meyer for fruit collections and Maria Laux for microorganisms. A preliminary report was presented at Experimental Biology Conference 2006 in San Francisco.

Supplementary material

11130_2009_119_MOESM1_ESM.doc (12 kb)
Table 1S Glucose/fructose ratios of fruit tissue extractsa (DOC 11 kb)
11130_2009_119_MOESM2_ESM.doc (13 kb)
Table 2S Dose response of antimicrobial activity (diameter of inhibition in mm) of 70% acetone extracts of Newcomb and Montgomery pulpa (DOC 13 kb)
11130_2009_119_MOESM3_ESM.doc (12 kb)
Table 3S TLC spot test for phenolics and free radical scavengers in semi-purified fractions from Punta Cana (P) or Newcomb (N) pulp and Punta Cana embryo (PE) crude extractsa (DOC 12 kb)
11130_2009_119_MOESM4_ESM.doc (13 kb)
Table 4S Thin-layer chromatography of Punta Cana or Newcomb pulp and Punta Cana embryo extract fractions after visualization with vanillin-sulphuric acid or UV lighta (DOC 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Bystrom
    • 1
    Email author
  • Betty A. Lewis
    • 1
  • Dan L. Brown
    • 2
  • Eloy Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Ralph L. Obendorf
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Nutritional SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Animal Science, Plant Biology, and Crop and Soil SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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