Skip to main content

Acerola, an untapped functional superfruit: a review on latest frontiers

Abstract

Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) is one of the richest natural sources of ascorbic acid and contains a plethora of phytonutrients like carotenoids phenolics, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. There is an upsurge of interest in this fruit among the scientific community and pharmaceutical companies over the last few years. The fruit contains an exorbitant amount of ascorbic acid in the range of 1500–4500 mg/100 g, which is around 50–100 times than that of orange or lemon. Having a reservoir of phytonutrients, the fruit exhibits high antioxidant capacity and several interesting biofunctional properties like skin whitening effect, anti-aging and multidrug resistant reversal activity. Countries like Brazil, realizing the potential of the fruit have started to exploit it commercially and have established a structured agro-industrial based market. In spite of possessing an enriched nutrient profile with potent “functional food” appeal, acerola is underutilized in large part of the globe and demands greater attention. A comprehensive literature analysis was carried out with reference to the latest frontiers on the compositional characteristics of the fruit. Emphasis has been given on newer dimensions of functional aspects of ascorbic acid and allied work and pectin and pectin methylesterase. The range of nutraceutical phytonutrients present in acerola and their biofunctional properties has been discussed. Recent advances in the value addition of the fruit highlighting the use of techniques like filtration, encapsulation, ultrasound, sonication, etc. are also elaborated. Furthermore, the potential use of acerola pulp in edible films and waste utilization for development of valuable byproducts has been highlighted.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aguiar TMD, Rodrigues FDS, Santos ERD, Sabaa-Srur AUD (2010) Chemical characterization and evaluation of the nutritional value of Malpighia punicifolia seeds. Nutrire Rev Soc Bras Aliment Nutr 35(2):91–102

    Google Scholar 

  • Almeida SS, Narain N, Souza RR, Santana JCC (2010) Optimization of processing conditions for wine production from acerola (Malpighia glabra L.). Acta Hort 864:471–478. https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.864.64

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Almeida SDS, Alves WAL, Araujo SAD, Santana JCC, Narain N, Souza RRD (2014) Use of simulated annealing in standardization and optimization of the acerola wine production. Food Sci. Technol Campinas 34(2):292–297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Antunes AEC, Liserre AM, Coelho ALA, Menezes CR, Moreno I, Yotsuyanag K, Azambuja NC (2013) Acerola nectar with added microencapsulated probiotic. LWT- Food Sci Technol 54:125–131

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Lima DC, Oliveira OMMDF (2000) Acerola’s pectin methylesterase: studies of heat inactivation. Food Chem 71:465–467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Lima DC, Oliveira OMMDF (2001) Activity of pectinmethylesterase, pectin content and vitamin C in acerola fruit at various stages of fruit development. Food Chem 74:133–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SA, Martins ABG, Guaglianoni DG, Olivera OMMDF (2002) Partial Purification and Characterization of Pectin Methylesterase from Acerola (Malpighia glabra L.). J Agric Food Chem 50:4103–4107

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Trevisan HC, Mascarenhas OM, Oliveira F (2003) Immobilization of pectinmethylesterase from acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) in porous silica. Biotechnol Lett 25:869–872

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Ferreira BS, Fernandes P, Guaglianoni DG, Cabral JMS, Oliveira OMMF (2004a) Gelatin-immobilized pectinmethylesterase for production of low methoxyl pectin. Food Chem 86:333–337

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Fernandes P, Ferreira BS, Cabral JMS, Oliveira OMMF (2004b) Screening of supports for the immobilization of pectinmethylesterase from acerola (Malpighia glabra L). J Chem Technol Biotechnol 79:277–280

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Assis SAD, Fernandes FP, Martins ABG, Oliveira OMMDF (2008) Acerola: importance, culture conditions, production and biochemical aspects. Fruits 63(2):93–101

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Asenjo CF, Freire DGAR (1946) The high ascorbic acid content of the West Indian cherry. Science 103(2669):219

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Azeredo HMC, Miranda KWE, Rosa MF, Nascimento DM, Moura MRD (2012a) Edible films from alginate-acerola puree reinforced with cellulose whiskers. LWT- Food Sci Technol 46:294–297

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Azeredo HMC, Miranda KWE, Ribeiro HL, Rosa MF, Nascimento DM (2012b) Nanoreinforced alginata-acerola puree coatings on acerola films. J Food Eng 113:505–510

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Badejo AA, Tanaka N, Nobukazu Esaka M (2008) Analysis of GDP-d-Mannose Pyrophosphorylase Gene Promoter from Acerola (Malpighia glabra) and Increase in Ascorbate Content of Transgenic Tobacco Expressing the Acerola Gene. Plant Cell Physiol 49(1):126–132

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Barbalho SM, Damasceno DC, Spada APM, Palhares M, Martuchi KA, Oshiiwa M, Sazaki V, Da Silva VS (2011) Evaluation of glycemic and lipid profile of offspring of diabetic Wistar rats treated with Malpighia emarginata juice. Exp Diabetes Res. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/173647

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Caetano ACDS, Araujo CRD, Lima VAGD, Maciel MIS, Melo EDA (2011) Evaluation of antioxidant activity of agro-industrial waste of acerola (Malpighia emarginata D.C.) fruit extracts. Cienc Tecnol Aliment Campinas 31(3):769–775

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chai Y, Weng H, Xue L (2014) Acerola cherry powder and a method for producing the same. Patent US 2014(0199464):A1

    Google Scholar 

  • Cruz AG, Ana ADSS, Macchione MM, Teixeira AM, Schmidt FL (2009) Milk Drink Using Whey Butter Cheese (queijo manteiga) and Acerola Juice as a Potential Source of Vitamin C. Food Bioprocess Tech 2(4):368–373

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dang BK, Huynh TV, Le VVM (2012) Simultaneous treatment of acerola mash by ultrasound and pectinase preparation in acerola juice processing: optimization of the pectinase concentration and pectolytic time by response surface methodology. Int Food Res J 19(2):509–513

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dang BK, Le VVM (2012) Pectolytic treatment of non-sonicated or sonicated barbados cherry mash: alternative choice in juice processing. Int Food Res J 19(3):947–954

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Delva L, Schneider RG (2013a) Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC): production, Postharvest Handling, Nutrition, and Biological Activity. Food Rev Int 29:107–126

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Delva L, Schneider RG (2013b) Antioxidant activity and antimicrobial properties of phenolic extracts form acerola (Malpighia emarginata D.C.) fruit. Int J Food Sci Tech 48:1048–1056

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Demir N, Acar J, Sarrioglu K, Mutlu M (2001) The use of commercial pectinase in fruit juice industry. Part 3: immobilized pectinase for mash treatment. J Food Eng 47:275–280

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dornoff JM, Toole DAO, Davies MB (1998) Skin whitener composition containing acerola fermentate. Patent US 5(747):006

    Google Scholar 

  • Dusman E, Ferreira MFDS, Berti AP, Mariucc RG, Mantovani MS, Vicentini VEP (2012) Investigation of cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of Malpighia glabra L. (barbados cherry) fruit pulp and vitamin C on plant and animal test system. Cienc Tecnol Aliment Campinas 32(2):405–411

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dusman E, Berti AP, Mariucci RG, Lopes NB, Tonin LTD, Vicentini VEP (2014) Radioprotective effect of the Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra L.) against radiopharmaceutical Iodine-131 in Wistar rats in vivo. BMC Complement Altern Med 14(41):1–9

    Google Scholar 

  • Duzzioni AG, Lenton VM, Silva DIS, Barrozo MAS (2013) Effect of drying kinetics on main bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of acerola (Malpighia emarginata D.C.) residue. Int J Food Sci Tech 48:1041–1047

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Favaro-Trindade CS, Bernardi S, Bodini RB, Balieiro JCDC, Almeida ED (2006) Sensory Acceptability and Stability of Probiotic Microorganisms and Vitamin C in Fermented Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) Ice Cream. J Food Sci 71(6):S492–S495

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gomes ERDS, Mendes ES, Pereira NC, Barros STDD (2005) Evaluation of the Acerola Juice Concentrated by Reverse Osmosis. Braz Arch Biol Technol 48:175–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hanamura T, Mayama C, Aoki H, Hirayama Y, Shimizu M (2006) Antihyperglycemic Effect of Polyphenols from Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) Fruit. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 70(8):1813–1820

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hanamura T, Uchida E, Aoki H (2008) Skin lightening Effect of a Polyphenol Extract from Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) Fruit on UV-Induced Pigmentation. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 72(12):3211–3218

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kawaguchi M, Tanabe H, Nagamine K (2007) Isolation and characterization of a novel flavonoid possessing a 4,2’’-glycosidic linkage from green mature acerola (Malpighia emarginata D.C.) fruit. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 71(5):1130–1135

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lima VLAG, Melo EA, Maciel MIS, Prazeres FG, Musser RS, Lima DES (2005) Total phenolic and carotenoid contents in acerola genotypes harvested at three ripening stages. Food Chem 90:565–568

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lima ADS, Maia GA, De Sousa PHM, Do Prado GM, Rodrigues S (2009) Storage stability of a stimulant coconut water–acerola fruit juice beverage. Int J Food Sci Tech 44(7):1445–1451

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Liu J, Peng X, Li X, Li T, Zhang W, Shi L, Han J, Qiu M (2013) Norfriedelins A-C with Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity from Acerola Tree (Malpighia emarginata). Org Lett 15(7):1580–1583

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Liu Deung Y, Li T, Han Q, Li Y, Qiu M (2014) Three New Tetranorditerpenes from Aerial Parts of Acerola Cherry (Malpighia emarginata). Molecules 19:2629–2636

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Marques LG, Ferreira MC, Freire JT (2007) Freeze-drying of acerola (Malpighia glabra L.). Chem Eng Process 46:451–457

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Marques TR, Correa AD, Lino JBDR, Abreu CMPD, Simao AA (2013) Chemical constituents and technological functional properties of acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) waste flour. Food Sci Technol Campinas 33(3):526–531

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Matsuura FCAU, Folegatti MIDS, Cardoso RL, Ferreira DC (2004) Sensory acceptance of mixed nectar of papaya, passion fruit and acerola. Sci Agric (Piracicaba, Braz) 61(6):604–608

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Matta VM, Moretti RH, Cabral LMC (2004) Microfiltration and reverse osmosis for clarification and concentration of acerola juice. J Food Eng 61:477–482

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mezadri T, Villano D, Fernandez-Pachon MS, Garcia-Parrilla MC, Troncoso AM (2008) Antioxidant compounds and antioxidant activity in acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruits and derivatives. J Food Comp Anal 21:282–290

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Moreira GEG, Costa MGM, Souza ACRD, Brito ESD, Medeiros MDFDD, Azeredo HMCD (2009) Physical properties of spray dried acerola pomace extract as affected by temperature and drying aids. LWT- Food Sci Technol 42:641–645

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Moreira GEG, Azeredo HMCD, Medeiros MDFDD, Brito ESD, Souza ACRD (2010) Ascorbic acid and anthocyanin retention during spray drying of acerola pomace extract. J Food Process Preserv 34:915–925

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Morse P, Habra L (1961) Vitamin C concentrate. US patent 3,012,943

  • Morse P, Habra L (1963) Non-deliquescent vitamin C concentrate. US patent 3,086,915

  • Motohashi N, Wakabayashi H, Kurihara T, Fukushima H, Yamada T, Kawase M, Sohara Y, Tani S, Shirataki Y, Sakagami H, Satoh K, Nakashima H, Molnar A, Spengler G, Gyemant N, Ugocsai K, Molnar J (2004) Biological activity of Barbados cherry (Acerola fruits, fruits of Malpighia emarginata DC) extracts and fractions. Phytother Res 18:212–223

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nagamine I, Akiyama T, Kainuma M, Kumagai H, Satoh H, Yamada K, Yano T, Sakurai H (2002) Effect of acerola cherry extract on cell proliferation and activation of Ras signal pathway at the promotion stage of lung tumorigenesis in mice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 48(1):69–72

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Naidu KA (2003) Vitamin C in human health and disease is still a mystery? An overview. Nutr J 2(1):7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-2-7

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Nakashima T (1989) Health Vinegar. US patent 4(806):365

    Google Scholar 

  • Nunes RDS, Kahl VFS, Sarmento MDS, Richter MF, Costa-Lotufo LV, Rodrigues FAR, Abin-Carriquiry JA, Martinez MA, Ferronatto S, Falcao ADB, Silva JD (2011) Antigenotoxicity and Antioxidant Activity of Acerola Fruit (Malpighia glabra L.) at Two Stages of Ripeness. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 66:129–135

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Oliveira ADS, Moura CFH, Brito ESD, Mamede RVS, Miranda MRAD (2012) Antioxidant Metabolism during Fruit Development of Different Acerola (Malpighia emarginata D.C) Clones. J Agric Food Chem 60:7957–7964

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pagani MM, Rocha-Leao MH, Couto ABB, Pinto JP, Ribeiro AO, Gomes FDS, Cabral LMC (2011) Concentration of acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) juice by integrated membrane separation process. Desalin Water Treat 27:130–134

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pommer CV, Barbosa W (2009) The impact of breeding on fruit production in warm climates of Brazil. Rev Bras Frutic Jaboticabal—SP 31(2):612–634

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Prakash A, Prabhudev SH, Vijayalakshmi MR, Prakash M, Baskaran R (2016) Implication of processing and differential blending on quality characteristics in nutritionally enriched ketchup (Nutri-Ketchup) from acerola and tomato. J Food Sci Technol 53(8):3175–3185

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Righetto AM, Netoo FM, Carraro F (2005) Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of juices from Mature and Immature acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC). Food Sci Technol Int 11:315–321

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rochette NFG, Mota EF, Nunes-Pinheiro DCS, Bezerra CF, Oliveira MLMD, Silva ACMD, Miranda MRAD, Melo DFD (2013) Effect of the pretreatment with acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) juice on the ethanol-induced oxidative stress in mice- Hepatoprotective potential of acerola juice. Free Rad Antioxid 3:S16–S21

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rosso VVD, Mercadante AZ (2005) Carotenoid composition of two Brazilian genotypes of acerola (Malpighia punicifolia L.) from two harvests. Food Res Int 38:1073–1077

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sancho SDO, Silva ARAD, Dantas ANDS, Magalhes TA, Lopes GS, Rodrigues S, Costa JMCD, Fernandes FAN, Silva MGDV (2015) Characterization of the industrial residues of seven fruits and prospection of their potential application as food supplements. J Chem. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/264284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Silva LMRD, Figueiredo EATD, Ricardo NMPS, Vieira IGP, Figueiredo RWD, Brasil IM, Gomes CL (2014) Quantification of bioactive compounds in pulps and by-products of tropical fruits from Brazil. Food Chem 143:398–404

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Singh DR (2006) West Indian Cherry ñ A lesser known fruit for nutritional security. Nat. Prod. Radiance 5(5):366–368

    Google Scholar 

  • Souza CO, Silva LT, Silva JR, Lopez JA, Veiga-Santos P, Druzian JI (2011) Mango and Acerola Pulps as Antioxidants Addtives in Cassava Starch Bio-based Film. J Agric Food Chem 59:2248–2254

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sousa PHMD, Maia GA, Azeredo HMCD, Ramos AM, Figueiredo RWD (2010) Storage stability of a tropical fruit (cashew apple, acerola, papaya, guava and passion fruit) mixed nectar added caffeine. Int J Food Sci Tech 45:2162–2166

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Srivastava P, Malviya R (2011) Sources of pectin, extraction and its applications in pharmaceutical industry- An overview. Indian J Nat Prod Resour 2(1):10–18

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Swain MR, Anandharaj M, Ray RC, Rani RP (2014) Fermented fruits and vegetables of Asia: a potential source of probiotics. Biotechnol Res Int. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/250424

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Tanada S, Tajima R, Koizumi T, Yamamoto S, Aoki H, Hanamura T, Mayama C (2007) Bacterial growth inhibitor or bacteriostatic agent utilizing substances derived from acerola fruit. Patent US 2007(0128328):A1

    Google Scholar 

  • The Wealth of India (1962) A dictionary of Indian raw materials and industrial products. Raw materials, vol. VI. L-M; Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, pp 233–234

  • Uchida E, Kondo Y, Amano A, Aizawa S, Hanamura T, Aoki H, Nagamine K, Koizumi T, Maruyama N, Ishigami A (2011) Absorption and excretion of ascorbic acid alone and in acerola (Malpighia emarginata) juice: comparision in healthy Japanese subjects. Biol Pharm Bull 34(11):1744–1747

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vendramini AL, Trugo LC (2000) Chemical composition of acerola fruit (Malpighia punicifolia L.) at three stages of maturity. Food Chem 71:195–198

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerman AC, Belo DV (2000) Method of increasing skin cell renewal rate using acerola cherry fermentate. US patent 6,074,647

Web reference

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Revathy Baskaran.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOC 2573 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Prakash, A., Baskaran, R. Acerola, an untapped functional superfruit: a review on latest frontiers. J Food Sci Technol 55, 3373–3384 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-018-3309-5

Download citation

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-018-3309-5

Keywords

  • Acerola
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Phytonutrients
  • Value addition
  • Biofunctional properties