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The mango is a juicy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South and Southeast Asia, from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics. The highest concentration of Mangifera genus is in the western part of Malesia (Sumatra, Java and Borneo) and in Burma and India. While other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, M. foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis, Mangifera indica—the "common mango" or "Indian mango"—is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. It originated in Indian subcontinent (present day India and Pakistan) and Burma. It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh. In several cultures, its fruit and leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings, public celebrations, and religious ceremonies.
Mango trees grow up to 35–40 m (115–131 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots; the tree also sends down many anchor roots, which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long, and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. Over 400 varieties of mangoes are known, many of which ripen in summer, while some give double crop. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.
The ripe fruit varies in size and color. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red, or green, and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, and which does not separate easily from the pulp. Ripe, unpeeled mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 mm (0.16–0.28 in) long. The seed contains the plant embryo.
The English word "mango" (plural "mangoes" or "mangos") originated from the Malayalam word māṅṅa via Portuguese (also manga) during spice trade with Kerala in 1498. The word's first recorded attestation in a European language was a text by Ludovico di Varthema in Italian in 1510, as manga; the first recorded occurrences in languages such as French and postclassical Latin appear to be translations from this Italian text. The origin of the "-o" ending in English is unclear. Mango is also mentioned by Hendrik van Rheede, the Dutch commander of Malabar (Northern Kerala) in his book Hortus Malabaricus, a compendium of the plants of economic and medical value in the Malabar, published in 1678. When mangoes were first imported to the American colonies in the 17th century, they had to be pickled due to lack of refrigeration. Other fruits were also pickled and came to be called "mangoes", especially bell peppers, and by the 18th century, the word "mango" became a verb meaning "to pickle".
Mangoes have been cultivated in South Asia for thousands of years and reached East Asia between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. By the 10th century AD, cultivation had begun in East Africa. The 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported it at Mogadishu. Cultivation came later to Brazil, the West Indies, and Mexico, where an appropriate climate allows its growth.
The mango is now cultivated in most frost-free tropical and warmer subtropical climates; almost half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India alone, with the second-largest source being China. Mangoes are also grown in Andalusia, Spain (mainly in Málaga province), as its coastal subtropical climate is one of the few places in mainland Europe that allows the growth of tropical plants and fruit trees. The Canary Islands are another notable Spanish producer of the fruit. Other cultivators include North America (in South Florida and California's Coachella Valley), South and Central America, the Caribbean, Hawai'i, south, west, and central Africa, Australia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes, it accounts for less than 1% of the international mango trade; India consumes most of its own production.
Many commercial cultivars are grafted on to the cold-hardy rootstock of 'Gomera-1' mango cultivar, originally from Cuba. Its root system is well adapted to a coastal Mediterranean climate. Many of the 1,000+ mango cultivars are easily cultivated using grafted saplings, ranging from the "turpentine mango" (named for its strong taste of turpentine) to the huevos de toro. Dwarf or semidwarf varieties serve as ornamental plants and can be grown in containers. A wide variety of diseases can afflict mangoes.
Mangoes are generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh varies across cultivars; some have a soft, pulpy texture similar to an overripe plum, while others are firmer, like a cantaloupe or avocado, and some may have a fibrous texture. The skin of unripe, pickled, or cooked mango can be consumed, but has the potential to cause contact dermatitis of the lips, gingiva, or tongue in susceptible people.
Mangoes are widely used in cuisine. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, athanu, pickles, side dishes, or may be eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce. A summer drink called aam panna comes from mangoes. Mango pulp made into jelly or cooked with red gram dhal and green chillies may be served with cooked rice. Mango lassi is popular throughout South Asia, prepared by mixing ripe mangoes or mango pulp with buttermilk and sugar. Ripe mangoes are also used to make curries. Aamras is a popular thick juice made of mangoes with sugar or milk, and is consumed with chapatis or pooris. The pulp from ripe mangoes is also used to make jam called mangada. Andhra aavakaaya is a pickle made from raw, unripe, pulpy, and sour mango, mixed with chili powder, fenugreek seeds, mustard powder, salt, and groundnut oil. Mango is also used in Andhra to make dahl preparations. Gujaratis use mango to make chunda (a grated mango delicacy).
Mangoes are used in preserves such as moramba, amchur (dried and powdered unripe mango), and pickles, including a spicy mustard-oil pickle and alcohol. Ripe mangoes are often cut into thin layers, desiccated, folded, and then cut. These bars are similar to dried guava fruit bars available in some countries. The fruit is also added to cereal products such as muesli and oat granola. Mangoes are often prepared charred in Hawaii.
Unripe mango may be eaten with bagoong (especially in the Philippines), fish sauce, or with dash of salt. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mango (sometimes combined with seedless tamarind to form mangorind) are also popular. Mangoes may be used to make juices, mango nectar, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbetes.
Mango is used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, fruit bars, raspados, aguas frescas, pies, and sweet chili sauce, or mixed with chamoy, a sweet and spicy chili paste. It is popular on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt or as a main ingredient in fresh fruit combinations. In Central America, mango is either eaten green mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper, and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. Toasted and ground pumpkin seed (pepita) with lime and salt are eaten green mangoes.
Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes. Sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut, then served with sliced mango as a dessert. In other parts of Southeast Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. Green mangoes can be used in mango salad with fish sauce and dried shrimp. Mango with condensed milk may be used as a topping for shaved ice.
Nutrients and phytochemicals
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||250 kJ (60 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.6 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Although not confirmed scientifically, mango peel pigments may have biological effects, including carotenoids, such as the provitamin A compound, beta-carotene, lutein and alpha-carotene, polyphenols such as quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, caffeic acid, catechins, tannins, and the unique mango xanthonoid, mangiferin, which are under preliminary research for their potential to counteract various disease processes. Phytochemical and nutrient content appears to vary across mango cultivars. Up to 25 different carotenoids have been isolated from mango pulp, the densest of which was beta-carotene, which accounts for the yellow-orange pigmentation of most mango cultivars. Peel and leaves also have significant polyphenol content, including xanthonoids, mangiferin and gallic acid.
The mango triterpene, lupeol, is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers. An extract of mango branch bark called Vimang, isolated by Cuban scientists, contains numerous polyphenols with antioxidant properties in vitro and on blood parameters of elderly humans.
The pigment euxanthin, known as Indian yellow, is often thought to be produced from the urine of cattle fed mango leaves; the practice is described as having been outlawed in 1908 due to malnutrition of the cattle and possible urushiol poisoning. This supposed origin of euxanthin appears to rely on a single, anecdotal source, and Indian legal records do not outlaw such a practice.
The flavor of mango fruits is constituted by several volatile organic chemicals mainly belonging to terpene, furanone, lactone, and ester classes. Different varieties or cultivars of mangoes can have flavor made up of different volatile chemicals or same volatile chemicals in different quantities. In general, New World mango cultivars are characterized by the dominance of δ-3-carene, a monoterpene flavorant; whereas, high concentration of other monoterepnes such as (Z)-ocimene and myrcene, as well as the presence of lactones and furanones, is the unique feature of Old World cultivars. In India, 'Alphonso' is one of the most popular cultivars. In 'Alphonso' mango, the lactones and furanones are synthesized during ripening; whereas terpenes and the other flavorants are present in both the developing (immature) and ripening fruits. Ethylene, a ripening-related hormone well known to be involved in ripening of mango fruits, causes changes in the flavor composition of mango fruits upon exogenous application, as well. In contrast to the huge amount of information available on the chemical composition of mango flavor, the biosynthesis of these chemicals has not been studied in depth; only a handful of genes encoding the enzymes of flavor biosynthetic pathways have been characterized to date.
Potential for contact dermatitis
Contact with oils in mango leaves, stems, sap, and skin can cause dermatitis and anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals. It contains mangiferen, resinous acid, mangiferic acid, and the resinol called mangiferol. Those with a history of contact dermatitis induced by urushiol (an allergen found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac) may be most at risk for mango contact dermatitis. Cross-reactions between mango allergens and urushiol have been observed. Urushiol is also present in mango leaves and stems. During its primary ripening season, it is the most common cause of plant dermatitis in Hawaii. After contacting it, reactions may not be immediate. Eyelids, face, or other parts of the body may even swell because of this. It irritates and may even blister the skin. Also, burning of the mango wood, leaves, etc. should be avoided because fumes could be dangerous.
The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh. In India, harvest and sale of mangoes is during March–May and this is annually covered by news agencies. Frooti is an Indian mango drink, and the Coca-Cola company started their own drink, called "Maaza", to compete with it.
The Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605 AD) is said to have planted a mango orchard having 100,000 trees in Darbhanga, eastern India. The Jain goddess Ambika is traditionally represented as sitting under a mango tree. In Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by Lord Ganesha as a symbol of attainment, regarding the devotees' potential perfection. Mango blossoms are also used in the worship of the goddess Saraswati. No Telugu/Kannada New Year's Day called Ugadi passes without eating ugadi pachadi made with mango pieces as one of the ingredients.
Dried mango skin and its seeds are also used in Ayurvedic medicines. Mango leaves are used to decorate archways and doors in Indian houses and during weddings and celebrations such as Ganesh Chaturthi. Mango motifs and paisleys are widely used in different Indian embroidery styles, and are found in Kashmiri shawls, Kanchipuram silk sarees, etc. Paisleys are also common to Iranian art, because of its pre-Islamic Zoroastrian past.
In the West Indies, the expression "to go mango walk" means to steal another person's mango fruits. This is celebrated in the famous song, "The Mango Walk".
Production and consumption
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates worldwide production at nearly 38,600,000 tonnes (42,500,000 short tons) in 2011 (table below). India is the largest producer of mangoes with nearly 40% of world's production. Controlling attacks of mango mealybugs on fruiting mango trees, however, is a major challenge.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
Many hundreds of named mango cultivars exist. In mango orchards, several cultivars are often crossed to improve pollination. Many desired cultivars are monoembryonic and must be propagated by grafting or they do not breed true. A common monoembryonic cultivar is 'Alphonso', an important export product, considered as "the king of mangoes".
Cultivars that excel in one climate may fail elsewhere. For example, Indian cultivars such as 'Julie', a prolific cultivar in Jamaica, require annual fungicide treatments to escape the lethal fungal disease anthracnose in Florida. Asian mangoes are resistant to anthracnose.
The current world market is dominated by the cultivar 'Tommy Atkins', a seedling of 'Haden' that first fruited in 1940 in southern Florida. It was initially rejected commercially by Florida researchers. For example, 80% of mangoes in UK supermarkets are 'Tommy Atkins'. Despite its fibrous flesh and only fair taste, growers worldwide have embraced the cultivar for its exceptional productivity and disease resistance, shelf life, transportability, size, and appealing color.
'Alphonso', 'Benishaan', and 'Kesar' mango varieties are popular in India's southern states, while the 'Chaunsa' variety, among others, is popular in the northern states and Pakistan.
Guatemala markets sell a variety called mango de leche which is more resinous outside and inside.
Generally, ripe mangoes have an orange-yellow or reddish peel and are juicy for eating, while exported fruit are often picked while underripe with green peels. Although producing ethylene while ripening, unripened exported mangoes do not have the same juiciness or flavor as fresh fruit.
- Aavakaaya South India pickled mango
- Achaar, South Asian pickles, commonly containing mango and lime
- Amchoor, mango powder
- Mangosteen, an unrelated fruit with a similar name
- Mango mealybug
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