The papaya // or // (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighbouring Central America. It was first cultivated in Mexicoseveral centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations.
The papaya is a large, tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 cm (20–28 in) in diameter, deeply palmately lobed, with seven lobes. Unusually for such large plants, the trees are dioecious. The tree is usually unbranched, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into large fruit - 15–45 cm (5.9–18 in) long and 10–30 cm (3.9–12 in) in diameter. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (as soft as a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue.
Common names 
Carica papaya plants and their fruits are known by different names around the English-speaking world:
- North America and Belize: papayas
- United Kingdom: The fruit is usually called papaya but is also known as papaw or pawpaw 
- Africa: pawpaw or papaw 
Originally from southern Mexico (particularly Chiapas and Veracruz), Central America, and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within three years. It is, however, highly frost-sensitive, limiting its production to tropical lands.
Pests and diseases 
|This section requires expansion. (July 2011)|
Papayas are susceptible to the papaya ringspot virus (PRV), which causes premature molting and malformation of the leaves. In the 1990s, the virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii's papaya industry completely.
The papaya is also susceptible to the fruit fly, a small, wasp-like insect that lays its eggs in young fruit.
|This section requires expansion. (July 2011)|
Two kinds of papayas are commonly grown. One has sweet, red (or orangish) flesh, and the other has yellow flesh; in Australia, these are called "red papaya" and "yellow papaw", respectively. Either kind, picked green, is called a "green papaya."
In 2011 Philippine researchers reported they by intergeneric hybridisation between carica papaya and Vasconcellea quercifolia they had developed conventionally bred, nongenetically engineered papaya that are proving resistant to PRV.
Genetically modified cultivars 
In response to the PRV outbreak in Hawaii, genetically altered papaya were generated and brought to market (including 'SunUp' and 'Rainbow') that have some papaya ringspot virus (PRV) DNA incorporated into the DNA of the plant are resistant to PRVs. This was so successful that by 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya plants were genetically modified.
Meat tenderizing 
Both green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are rich in papain, a protease used for tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.
Nutrients, phytochemicals and culinary practices 
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||179 kJ (43 kcal)|
|- Sugars||7.82 g|
|- Dietary fiber||1.7 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||47 μg (6%)|
|- beta-carotene||274 μg (3%)|
|- lutein and zeaxanthin||89 μg|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.023 mg (2%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.027 mg (2%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.357 mg (2%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.191 mg (4%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.038 mg (3%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||38 μg (10%)|
|Vitamin C||62 mg (75%)|
|Vitamin E||0.3 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin K||2.6 μg (2%)|
|Calcium||20 mg (2%)|
|Iron||0.25 mg (2%)|
|Magnesium||21 mg (6%)|
|Manganese||0.04 mg (2%)|
|Phosphorus||10 mg (1%)|
|Potassium||182 mg (4%)|
|Sodium||8 mg (1%)|
|Zinc||0.08 mg (1%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Papaya fruit is a source of nutrients such as provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber. Papaya skin, pulp and seeds also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including lycopene and polyphenols. In preliminary research, danielone, a phytoalexin found in papaya fruit, showed antifungal activity against Colletotrichum gloesporioides, a pathogenic fungus of papaya.
The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. In Thai cuisine, papaya is used to make Thai salads such as som tam and Thai curries such as kaeng som when still not fully ripe. In Indonesian cuisine, the unripe green fruits and young leaves are boiled for use as part of lalab salad, while the flower buds are sautéed and stir-fried with chillies and green tomatoes as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable dish. Papayas have a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies. The smell of ripe, fresh papaya flesh can strike some people as unpleasant.
The black seeds of the papaya are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper.
In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a treatment for malaria. Antimalarial and antiplasmodial activity has been noted in some preparations of the plant, but the mechanism is not understood and no treatment method based on these results has been scientifically proven.
Herbal medicine 
Papain is also applied topically in countries where it grows for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.
Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as an herbal medicine for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.
Preliminary research 
||This section needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (October 2012)|
Preliminary medical research in animals has confirmed the potential contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, and possibly in adult male humans. Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.
Other preliminary research indicates alternate possible effects which remain to be further studied. Papaya juice has an in vitro antiproliferative effect on liver cancer cells, possibly due to lycopene. or immune system stimulation. Papaya seeds might contain antibacterial properties against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi. Papaya seed extract may have effects in toxicity-induced kidney failure.
Allergies and side effects 
Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people.
The latex concentration of unripe papayas are speculated to cause uterine contractions, which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.
Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia).
See also 
- Asimina triloba, pawpaw (of North America)
- Chaenomeles speciosa, flowering quince, which, like Carica papaya, is known as mugua (木瓜) in Chinese
- Papaya salad
- Pseudocydonia, Chinese quince, known as mugua (木瓜) in Chinese
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- Merriam-Webster Online: pawpaw
- Delbridge, A., and J. R. L. Bernard. 1988 The Macquarie Concise Dictionary. The Macquarie Library: Sydney.
- "Papaya Vs Papaw". News (15 April 2005). Horticulture Australia. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- Sagon, Candy (13 October 2004). "Maradol Papaya". Market Watch (13 Oct 2004) (The Washington Post). Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- "Euphytica, Volume 181, Number 2". SpringerLink. doi:10.1007/s10681-011-0388-z. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- Ronald, Pamela and McWilliams, James (14 May 2010) Genetically Engineered Distortions The New York Times, accessed 1 October 2012
- Danielone, a phytoalexin from papaya fruit. Echeverri F., Torres F., Quinones W., Cardona G., Archbold R., Roldan J., Brito I., Luis J.G., and LahlouU E.-H., Phytochemistry, 1997, vol. 44, no2, pp. 255-256, INIST:2558881
- Green Papaya Salad Recipe - ThaiTable.com
- Titanji, V.P.; Zofou, D.; Ngemenya, M.N. (2008). "The Antimalarial Potential of Medicinal Plants Used for the Treatment of Malaria in Cameroonian Folk Medicine". African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 5 (3): 302–321. PMC 2816552. PMID 20161952.
- Entry on Harrison Ford's back treatment.
- Morton, J.F. (1987). Papaya. In: Fruits of warm climates.. pp. 336–346.
- Lohiya, N. K.; B. Manivannan, P. K. Mishra, N. Pathak, S. Sriram, S. S. Bhande, and S. Panneerdoss (March 2002). "Chloroform extract of Carica papaya seeds induces long-term reversible azoospermia in langur monkey" (– Scholar search). Asian Journal of Andrology 4 (1): 17–26. PMID 11907624. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-18.[dead link]
- Oderinde, O; Noronha, C; Oremosu, A; Kusemiju, T; Okanlawon, OA (2002). "Abortifacient properties of Carica papaya (Linn) seeds in female Sprague-Dawley rats". Niger Postgrad Medical Journal 9 (2): 95–8. PMID 12163882.
- Rahmat, Asmah et al.. "Antiproliferative activity of pure lycopene compared to both extracted lycopene and juices from watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris) and papaya (Carica papaya) on human breast and liver cancer cell lines". Retrieved 9 May 2009.
- "Papaya extract thwarts growth of cancer cells in lab tests". Retrieved 3 March 2010.
- "The in vitro assessment of antibacterial effect of papaya seed extract against bacterial pathogens isolated from urine, wound and stool.". Retrieved 14 October 2009.
- "Nephroprotective activities of the aqueous seed extract of Carica papaya Linn. in carbon tetrachloride induced renal injured Wistar rats: a dose- and time-dependent study". Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- "Search the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference". Nal.usda.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
- Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
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