Macadamia

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Macadamia
Macadamia nuts on tree.JPG
Macadamia integrifolia nuts on the tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Proteaceae
Genus: Macadamia
F.Muell.
Species

Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia and constituting part of the plant family Proteaceae.[1][2] They are native to north eastern New South Wales and central and south eastern Queensland. The tree is commercially important for its fruit, the macadamia nut or simply macadamia. Other names include Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, bauple nut, and Hawaii nut.[3] In Australian Aboriginal languages, the fruit is known by names such as bauple, gyndl, jindilli,[3] and boombera. Previously, more species, with disjunct distributions, were named as members of this genus Macadamia.[2] Genetics and morphological studies more recently published in 2008 by Austin Mast and colleagues show they have separated from this genus Macadamia, correlating less closely than thought from earlier morphological studies.[2] The species previously named in this Macadamia genus may still be referred to overall by the descriptive, non-scientific name of macadamia; their disjunct distributions and current scientific names are:

  • New Caledonia endemic genus Virotia in 1975 having only the type species, then by 2008 all six endemic species
  • North eastern Queensland, Australian endemic genus and species Catalepidia heyana in 1995
  • North eastern Queensland and Cape York Peninsula, Australia, three endemic species of Lasjia in 2008; in Australia still informally described as northern macadamias
  • Sulawesi (Indonesia) two endemic species of Lasjia in 2008, based on the 1952 name M. hildebrandii and the 1995 name M. erecta

Macadamia species grow as small to large evergreen trees 2–12 m (6.6–39.4 ft) tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, 6–30 cm long and 2–13 cm broad, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme 5–30 cm long, the individual flowers 10–15 mm long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds.

In 1857 John Macadam was honoured, as a colleague, with the use of his name for the description of this genus in European science by the German–Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller.[4]

Species[edit]

Formerly included in the genus
Lasjia P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast, formerly Macadamia until 2008
  • Lasjia claudiensis (C.L.Gross & B.Hyland) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast; Synonym, base name: Macadamia claudiensis C.L.Gross & B.Hyland
  • Lasjia erecta (J.A.McDonald & R.Ismail) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast; Synonym, base name: Macadamia erecta J.A.McDonald & R.Ismail
  • Lasjia grandis (C.L.Gross & B.Hyland) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast; Synonym, base name: Macadamia grandis C.L.Gross & B.Hyland
  • Lasjia hildebrandii (Steenis) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast; Synonym, base name: Macadamia hildebrandii Steenis
  • Lasjia whelanii (F.M.Bailey) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast; Synonyms: base name: Helicia whelanii F.M.Bailey, Macadamia whelanii (F.M.Bailey) F.M.Bailey
Catalepidia P.H.Weston, formerly Macadamia until 1995
  • Catalepidia heyana (F.M.Bailey) P.H.Weston; Synonyms, base name: Helicia heyana F.M.Bailey , Macadamia heyana (F.M.Bailey) Sleumer
Virotia L.A.S.Johnson & B.G.Briggs, formerly Macadamia until the first species renaming began in 1975 and comprehensive in 2008

Production[edit]

Fresh macadamia nut with shell cut in half.
Macadamia nut in its shell and a roasted nut

The seeds are a valuable food crop. Only three of the species, Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia ternifolia, and Macadamia tetraphylla, are of commercial importance. Only two of these three species (Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla) can be eaten raw. The remainder of the genus possesses poisonous and/or inedible seeds, such as M. whelanii and M. ternifolia; the toxicity is due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides. These glycosides can be removed by prolonged leaching, a practice used by some Indigenous Australian peoples for these species, as well.

The two species of edible macadamia readily hybridize, and M. tetraphylla is threatened in the wild due to this. The seed was first described by Europeans south of Brisbane in 1828 by the explorer and botanist Allan Cunningham. One of the locations where wild macadamia trees were originally found was at Mount Bauple near Maryborough in southeast Queensland, Australia. Macadamia nuts are one of the few Australian endemic plant foods produced and exported in the quantities of a commodity.[5]

The first commercial orchard of macadamia trees was planted in the early 1880s by Rous Mill, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) southeast of Lismore, New South Wales, consisting of M. tetraphylla.[6] Besides the development of a small boutique industry in Australia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, macadamia was extensively planted as a commercial crop in Hawaii from the 1920s. Macadamia seeds were first imported into Hawaii in 1882 by William H. Purvis. The young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on the Big Island, planted seeds that year at Kapulena.[7]

The Hawaiian-produced macadamia established the well-known seed internationally. However, in 2006, macadamia production began to fall in Hawaii, due to lower prices from an over-supply.[8]

Outside of Hawaii and Australia, macadamia is also commercially produced in South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Colombia, Guatemala and Malawi. Australia is now the world's largest commercial producer – accounting for roughly 40 percent of the approximately 100,000 tonnes of seeds in shell per year produced globally. To date, efforts to grow the macadamia commercially in Florida have not met with success, primarily as a result of low yield. However, the macadamia is a popular dooryard tree in Florida and efforts to select cultivars with better productivity are ongoing.[9]

Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts

Processing[edit]

Assessment as to whether a macadamia has undergone sufficient drying to ensure the moisture content is low, can be undergone by dropping them in their shells from normal hand height onto a floor surface that is relatively hard and solid, e.g. concrete or tiles. Subsequent shaking and hearing the seed rattling inside indicates that it is loose from its shell, and can thus be cracked with a higher intact-seed-yield ratio. Seeds that do not rattle have not dried sufficiently to reduce the moisture content and allow it to shrink away from the shell. Periodically, a seed will not rattle regardless of its moisture content due to the orientation of the kernel.

To penetrate the husk's hard protective shell, a metal vise or hammer can be used to compress the shell until it lightly fractures, then the pressure is released and the seed is re-positioned to crack it along a different plane.[10]

In Malawi, the macadamia tree was first introduced in tea plantations as wind shields in the low tea fields and the tea pickers used to roast the seeds in this style as a fatty snack.

Nutritional qualities[edit]

Compared to other common edible seeds such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein.[11] They have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats of any known seed and contain approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid,[12] which has biological effects similar to monounsaturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.[13]

Raw Macadamia kernel, per 100 grams
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 3,080 kJ (740 kcal)
13.8 g
Sugars 4.57 g
Dietary fiber 8.6 g
75.8 g
*Saturated fat: 12 g
*Monounsaturated fat: 59 g
*Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5 g
7.9 g
Vitamins
Vitamin B6
(21%)
0.275 mg
Vitamin C
(1%)
1.2 mg
Vitamin E
(4%)
0.54 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(9%)
85 mg
Iron
(28%)
3.69 mg
Magnesium
(37%)
130 mg
Phosphorus
(27%)
188 mg
Potassium
(8%)
368 mg
Zinc
(14%)
1.30 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in macadamia toxicosis, which is marked by weakness and hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion. Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain. In high doses of toxin, opiate medication may be required for symptom relief until the toxic effects diminish. Full recovery is usually within 24 to 48 hours.[14]

Skincare[edit]

Macadamia oil is prized for containing approximately 22% of the omega-7 palmitoleic acid,[15] which makes it a botanical alternative to mink oil, which contains approximately 17%. This relatively high content of "cushiony" palmitoleic acid plus macadamia's high oxidative stability make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially for skincare. However macadamias can cause severe allergic reactions in humans, as do many other seeds. These reactions can vary from a slight swelling of the lips, to an itchy throat or in the extreme, anaphylaxis. Caution should be used whenever around children or adults who have never ingested such seeds, or persons with known allergies to treenuts. [16] A skin test can also provide information about allergies while in a M.D./D.O.'s office who acts as specialist in allergens.

Other uses[edit]

The trees are also grown as ornamental plants in subtropical regions for their glossy foliage and attractive flowers. Macadamia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Batrachedra arenosella'.

Macadamia seeds are often fed to hyacinth macaws in captivity. These large parrots are one of the few animals, aside from humans, capable of cracking husk and shelling the seed.[17] Nuts of the Arkin Papershell variety crack open more readily.

Cultivation and processing[edit]

Macadamia integrifolia flowers

The macadamia tree is usually propagated by grafting, and does not begin to produce commercial quantities of seeds until it is 7–10 years old, but once established, may continue bearing for over 100 years. Macadamias prefer fertile, well-drained soils, a rainfall of 1,000–2,000 mm, and temperatures not falling below 10 °C (although once established, they can withstand light frosts), with an optimum temperature of 25 °C. The roots are shallow and trees can be blown down in storms; they are also susceptible to Phytophthora root disease.

Macadamia 'Beaumont' new growth

Cultivars[edit]

Beaumont[edit]

A Macadamia integrifolia / M. tetraphylla hybrid commercial variety is widely planted in Australia and New Zealand; it was discovered by Dr. J. H. Beaumont. It is high in oil, but is not sweet. New leaves are reddish, flowers are bright pink, borne on long racemes. It is one of the quickest varieties to come into bearing once planted in the garden, usually carrying a useful crop by the fourth year, and improving from then on. It crops prodigiously when well pollinated. The impressive, grape-like clusters are sometimes so heavy they break the branchlet to which they are attached. In commercial orchards, it has reached 18 kg per tree by eight years old. On the downside, the macadamias do not drop from the tree when ripe, and the leaves are a bit prickly when one reaches into the interior of the tree during harvest. Its shell is easier to open than that of most commercial varieties.

Macadamia 'Maroochy' new growth

Maroochy[edit]

A pure M. tetraphylla variety from Australia, this strain is cultivated for its productive crop yield, flavor, and suitability for pollinating 'Beaumont'.

Nelmac II[edit]

A South African M. integrifolia / M. tetraphylla hybrid cultivar, it has a sweet seed, which means it has to be cooked carefully so that the sugars do not caramelise. The sweet seed is usually not fully processed, as it generally doesn't taste as good, but many people enjoy eating it uncooked. It has an open micropyle (hole in the shell) which may let in mould. The crack-out percentage is high. Ten year old trees average 22 kg per tree. It is a popular variety because of its pollination of 'Beaumont', and the yields are almost comparable.

Renown[edit]

A M. integrifolia / M. tetraphylla hybrid, this is a rather spreading tree. On the plus side, it is high yielding (commercially, 17 kg from a 9-year-old tree has been recorded), and the macadamias drop to the ground. However it is thick-shelled, and with not much flavor.

History[edit]

For thousands of years before European settlement, Australian Aborigines ate the native seed that grew in rainforests of eastern Australia. One of these seeds was called gyndl or jindilli (M. integrifolia), which was later borrowed as "kindal" by early Europeans. In New South Wales, the southern species is known traditionally as boombera (M. tetraphylla).[18] In the Gympie area, seasonal feasts on 'boppal' (macadamia) seeds were held, especially at Mt Bauple (which was named after it).

1828
Allan Cunningham was the first European to discover the macadamia plant.
1857
German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller gave the genus the scientific name Macadamia – named after von Mueller’s friend Dr. John Macadam, a noted scientist and secretary to the Philosophical Institute of Australia.
1858
Walter Hill, Superintendent of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, observed a boy eating the kernel without ill effect, becoming the first nonindigenous person recorded to eat macadamia nuts.
1860s
King Jacky, aboriginal elder of the Logan River clan, south of Brisbane, Queensland, was the first known macadamia entrepreneur, as he and his tribe regularly collected and traded the macadamias with settlers.[19]
1866
Tom Petrie plants macadamias at Yebri Creek (near Petrie) from nuts obtained from Aborigines at Buderim (Nut Growing Experiments’ The Queenslander Thursday 8 October 1931 p.13)
1881
William H. Purvis introduced macadamia nuts to Hawaii as a windbreak for sugar cane.
1882
The first commercial orchard of macadamia was planted at Rous Mill, 12 km from Lismore, by Charles Staff.
1889
Joseph Maiden, Australian botanist, wrote, "It is well worth extensive cultivation, for the nuts are always eagerly bought."[20]
1910
The Hawaiian Agricultural Experiment Station encouraged planting of macadamias on Hawaii's Kona District, as a crop to supplement coffee production in the region.[21]
1916
Tom Petrie begins trial macadamia plantations in Maryborough district, combining with pecans to shelter the trees (Nut Growing Experiments’ The Queenslander Thursday 8 October 1931 p.13)
1922
Ernst Van Tassel formed the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Co in Hawai‘i.
1925
Tassel leased 75 acres (300,000 m2) on Round Top in Honolulu (Nut Ridge) and begins a macadamia nut orchard, Hawaii's first macadamia seed farm.
1931
Ernest Van Tassel established a macadamia processing factory on Puhukaina Street in Kakaako; nuts were sold as Van's macadamia nuts.
1937
W. W. Jones and J. H. Beaumont reported, in "Science", the first successful grafting of macadamia that paved the way for mass production.
1940s
Steve Angus, Murwillumbah, Australia, formed Macadamia Nuts Pty Ltd, doing small-scale nut processing.
1946
A large plantation was established in Hawaii.[22][23]
1953
Castle & Cooke added a new brand of macadamia nuts called "Royal Hawaiian", which was credited with popularizing the nuts in the U.S.
1964
Macadamia Nuts Pty Ltd, opened Australia’s first purpose-built processing plant at Slacks Creek, near Brisbane, Queensland.
1997
Australia surpassed the United States as the major producer of macadamias.[21]
2003
Human nutrition research in Australia showed macadamia seeds lower total and LDL cholesterol levels.[24]

See also[edit]

Morris Arkin Backyard Horticulturalist - Arkin Papershell Macadamia

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Macadamia%". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) database (listing by % wildcard matching of all taxa relevant to Australia). Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 26 Apr 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Mast, Austin R.; Willis, Crystal L.; Jones, Eric H.; Downs, Katherine M.; Weston, Peter H. (July 2008). "A smaller Macadamia from a more vagile tribe: inference of phylogenetic relationships, divergence times, and diaspore evolution in Macadamia and relatives (tribe Macadamieae; Proteaceae)". American Journal of Botany 95 (7): 843–870. doi:10.3732/ajb.0700006. ISSN 1537-2197. Retrieved 4 Apr 2013. 
  3. ^ a b The Bopple Nut
  4. ^ Mueller, F.J.H. von (1857) Account of some New Australian Plants. Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria 2: 72 Type: Macadamia ternifolia F.Muell.[1]
  5. ^ "Macadamia Health Benefits". Australian Macadamia. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Macadamia Power Pty (1982). Macadamia Power in a Nutshell. Macadamia Power Pty Limited. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-9592892-0-6. 
  7. ^ Schmitt, Robert. "Macadamia Nuts". Hawaiian Historical Society. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Hawaii Macadamia Nuts: Final Season Estimates". Hawaii Department of Agriculture. July 13, 2007. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ Boning, Charles (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 117. 
  10. ^ T.Richards – Macadamia Horticulturist
  11. ^ [2] USDA, search for "Nuts, raw"
  12. ^ (German)/(English) [3], Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food (Bundesforschungsanstalt für Ernährung und Lebensmittel (BfEL))
  13. ^ Macadamia nutrition
  14. ^ Christine Allen (October 2001). "Treacherous Treats – Macadamia Nuts". Veterinary Technician. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ (German)/(English) [4], Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food (Bundesforschungsanstalt für Ernährung und Lebensmittel (BfEL)).
  16. ^ Skin Testing for Allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 25 June. 2012. Web. Jan. 2013. http://www.webmd.com/
  17. ^ Kashmir Csaky (November 2001). "The Hyacinth Macaw". Parrots Magazine. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  18. ^ Macadamia history
  19. ^ McConachie, Ian (1980). "The Macadamia Story" (PDF). California Macadamia Society Yearbook 26: 41–47. Retrieved 11 Jan 2014. 
  20. ^ Maiden, J. H., The Useful Native Plants of Australia, 1889, p40
  21. ^ a b Rieger, M., Introduction to Fruit Crops, 2006, p. 260. ISBN 978-1-56022-259-0
  22. ^ Sandra Wagner-Wright (1995). History of the macadamia nut industry in Hawai'i, 1881–1981. E. Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0-7734-9097-0. 
  23. ^ Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Packaging
  24. ^ Garg, M. L., Blake, R. J., Wills, R. B. H., Macadamia Nut Consumption Lowers Plasma Total and LDL Cholesterol Levels in Hypercholesterolemic Men, The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 133:1060–1063, April 2003.[5]

External links[edit]