Babassu nut | Attalea speciosa

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Other Names

Babassu [English], babassou[French], Babasú, palma babasu o babaçu [Spanish]; babaçu, babaçú, cusí, baguaçu, auaçu, aguaçu, guaguaçu, oauaçu, uauaçu, coco-de-macaco, coco-de-palmeira, coco-naiá, coco-pindoba e palha-branca[Portuguese] Babacu, Coco de macaco, Aguassu

Description

An erect perennial evergreen palm, Babassu Nut can reach up to 30 meters high. Its trunk is slender and has rings that have leaf scars up to 50 centimeters in diameter. It can bear up to four whitish or yellow flowers. The fruits are oblong nuts containing 3-8 kernels surrounded by pulp that is fleshy and a hardwood shell very similar to a coconut. They are also an impressive decorative palm. The old leaves do not fall off but develop into a skirt under the crown shaft. It is known to grow wild in Brazil. It also grows in Mexico and Guyana.

Ingredients

The Babassu nut contains fatty acids, lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic and oleic.

Collection period

August to November




Used Parts

Ripe fruit, leaves, nut and oil

Uses

The meal can be used in strict diets. It is a substitute for other sources of energy and protein, not to mention, it is also very palatable.

The oil is edible and has high economic importance in Brazil and is already a source of livelihood among families there just by processing it. The residue of the kernels is used by the fishermen in coastal villages to make fish bait.

The cake remaining after oil extraction is similar to coconut oil cake

Application

The palm is grown for its oil which has many uses. It contains rich protein which is excellent for margarine, detergents, soap, and lamp oil. It does not easily become rancid and it is also a valuable feedstuff. The flesh is used to prepare starch and ethanol, the shells can be made into charcoal and fuel. The husks are burnt and distributed among crops against insects. The leaves are good material for basketry.

Summary

A good source of protein and energy, Babassu nut is processed for its oil to make healthy margarine, and many other uses. The other parts of the palm are also applied in agriculture.

Side Effects

Because it is used to ward off insects, the fruit was also found to have goitrogenic effects on rats.

References

  • Feedipedia, Animal Feed Resources Information System: http://www.feedipedia.org/node/30-

  • FAO Corporate Document Repository, Minor Oil Crops, Babassu Nut: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5043e/x5043e04.htm-

  • Wikipedia, Babassu Oil: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babassu_oil-

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Babassu Palm: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/47367/babassu-palm

 

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