Passion fruit, also known as the king of fruits, maracujá or love fruit, became popular due to its health benefits and balanced nutrition. More than 110 phytochemical substances have already been identified in its pulp, leaves, peels and seeds. The fruit is mostly eaten raw or processed into juice, which is often added to other fruit juices to enhance the aroma. The leaves have very pleasant taste and are used to prepare a delicious stress relief tea.
Nutrition and bioactive compounds
Passion fruit is an excellent source of carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fibres, and contains high concentration of vitamin C and A, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. The concentrations of nutrients differ among the passion fruit varieties as well as different parts of the plant.
Passion fruit has a high content of phenolic acids, mostly anthocyanins and flavonoids, carotenoids (mostly beta carotene), lutein and zeaxanthin. The leaves contain fibre, niacin, vitamin A and C. Peels are characterised by the high levels of polyphenols, fibres and trace elements. The seeds contain high protein and oil amounts (mainly linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid).
Bioactive compounds of passion fruit exhibit protective effect against the degenerative and chronic diseases and act as the mutagenesis and carcinogenesis inhibitors. They were associated with the antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiallergic, antihypertensive, hepato- and lung-protective activities, anti-diabetic, sedative, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory activities
Passion fruit is a perennial vine with big and beautiful flowers. It is cultivated in the tropical and subtropical regions, which have ideal climatic conditions for its growth, especially in the South Africa, South America, Caribbean, south Florida, and Asia. Soil water content is one of the most important factors influencing the flowering of the plant.
Two main commercial varieties are the yellow-fruited Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa O. Deg. and the purple-fruited P. edulis Simst, named after the colour of their skin. Purple variety is a bit more resistant to the lower temperature, nevertheless, cultivation in greenhouses is recommended in the temperate climate. Recently, more interest has been put also on the orange variety, Passiflora caerulea, due to its sweet flavour and abundance of bioactive compounds.
Pulp: food, cosmetics, juices, food products (cake, ice cream, jam, jelly, yoghurt, compound beverage, tea, wine, vinegar, soup-stock, condiment sauce).
Peels: wine or tea, cooking dishes, pectin, medicinal ingredients, processing feed.
Seeds: food (raw, oil).
Leaves: tea, sedatives or tranquillisers in the United States and European countries.