[The acerola fruit: composition, productive characteristics and economic importance]

Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2006 Jun;56(2):101-9.
[Article in Spanish]


The acerola (Malpighia emarginata Sessé y Mociño ex DC) is a wild plant grown in zones of tropical and subtropical climate. Acerola is origin from South of Mexico, Central America and Septentrional area of South America. Its scientific name was adopted in 1986 by the International Council of Vegetable Genetic Resources. Malpighia emarginata has a subglobulose drupa fruit with three seeds which account between the 19 - 25% of the total weight. The diameter and weight of the fruit varies between 1 - 4 cm and 2 - 15 g, respectively. The fruit shows green color when it is developing, which changes to yellow and red tones when it is mature. Each plant produces annually 20 - 30 kg of fruits. This fruit contents macro and micronutrients: proteins (0.21-0.80 g/100 g), fats (0.23-0.80 g/100 g), carbohydrates (3.6-7.80 g/100 g), mineral salts (iron 0.24, calcium 11.7, phosphorus 17.1 mg/100 g) and vitamins (thiamine 0.02, riboflavine 0.07, piridoxine 8.7 mg/100 g). Its high content in vitamin C (695 a 4827 mg/100 g) is remarkable, therefore acerola has an increasing economic value by its great consume during last years. Acerola also presents carotenoids and bioflavonoids which provide important nutritive value and its potential use as antioxidant. Brazil has a climate and soil appropriate for the culture of acerola, thus this country is the main mundial productor. Acerola is commercialised as juices, jams, ices, gelatins, sweets or liquors. Bibliographical data have been mainly supplied by Electronic Resources of the University of Seville and the University do Vale do Itajaí (Santa Catarina, Brazil).

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis*
  • Carotenoids / analysis
  • Food Analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Fruit / classification
  • Fruit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Malpighiaceae / chemistry*
  • Malpighiaceae / classification
  • Malpighiaceae / physiology
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Proteins
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid