Native American berry could be next 'super fruit'

Friday, 15 November, 2013

A fruit historically used by Native Americans could become the next ‘super fruit’, after researchers found that the underutilised berry contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients.

The bright red buffaloberry is the subject of a study published in the Journal of Food Science which found that the berry contains large amounts of lycopene and a related acidic compound, methyl-lycopenoate, which are important antioxidants and nutrients beneficial for human health.

What’s more, lycopenoate may also be used as a natural food colourant. The fruit’s sugar and acidity make it suitable for use as a fresh or dried product.

The tree on which the fruit grows is a member of the olive family native to Western North America and is found on many Indian reservations, often where little else grows well. The findings of the study suggest that buffaloberry might be successfully grown as a new commercial crop on American Indian reservations; one which would be a good source of nutrition as well as providing a viable new product in an area in need of economic development.

Several commercial wine producers have expressed interest in the buffaloberry.

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