Acai (acai or assai) is one of the Amazon's most popular functional foods and widely used in the world. There are many benefits to its alleged use in the growing market for nutraceuticals. The acai extracts have a range of polyphenolic components with antioxidant properties, some of those present in greater quantity are orientin, isoorientin and vanillic acid, as well as anthocyanins cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside. The presence of these substances is linked mainly to the antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, anti-proliferative and cardioprotective activities. Importantly, there are two main species of the Euterpe genus which produce acai. There are several differences between them but they are still quite unknown, from literature to producers and consumers. In this review are highlighted the chemical composition, botanical aspects, pharmacological, marketing and nutrition of these species based on studies published in the last five years in order to unify the current knowledge and dissimilarities between them.
Keywords: Amazon; Euterpe genus; Pharmacological activities; Polyphenols.
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