Sunday, May 08, 2016

Serendipity berry

Another berry found in West and Central Africa is the fruit of Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii, a light red berry which grows in grape-like clusters.

Known as the ‘serendipity berry’ it is an herbaceous grown for its sweet berries, which are used as natural non-carbohydrate sweetener substitute. It grows in the rainforest during the rainy season from approximately July to October.

The fruits are red 1.3 long, in a grape-like cluster 50-100 in cluster, outer skin tough, pulp semi-solid, white, mucilaginous. While the berry is too sweet to have found use among the natives, parts of the plant are eaten. The sweetening principle is a polypeptide, soluble in water, but very large labile at high temperature.

The non-sucrose compound responsible for the sweet taste is classified as monellin, a sweet polypeptide. The sweetness of monellin is approximately 2500 times sweeter than sucrose in a weight basis.

Fruit fairly heavily from August through November, They are picked by hand and used as needed. Fruits are remarkably stable, and may be kept for several weeks at room temperature. Tubers dig in the dry season and sued as a vegetable.
Serendipity berry

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