|A pineapple, on its parent plant|
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries, and the most economically significant plant in the Bromeliaceae family. Pineapples may be cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit, possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruiting in the following six months. Pineapple does not ripen significantly post-harvest.
Pineapples are consumed fresh, cooked, juiced, and preserved, and are found in a wide array of cuisines. In addition to consumption, in the Philippines the pineapple's leaves are used to produce the textile fiber piña- employed as a component of wall paper and furnishings, amongst other uses.
The word "pineapple" in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). The term "pine cone" for the reproductive organ of conifer trees was first recorded in 1694. When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit in the Americas, they called them "pineapples" (first so referenced in 1664 due to resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone).
In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi word nanas, meaning "excellent fruit", as recorded by André Thevet in 1555, and comosus, "tufted", refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called "pine", as well, in other languages. In Spanish, pineapples are called piña ("pine cone"), or ananá (ananás) (example, the piña colada drink).
The pineapple is a herbaceous perennial which grows to 1.0 to 1.5 meters (3.3 to 4.9 ft) tall, although sometimes it can be taller. In appearance, the plant itself has a short, stocky stem with tough, waxy leaves. When creating its fruit, it usually produces up to 200 flowers, although some large-fruited cultivars can exceed this. Once it flowers, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what is commonly referred to as a pineapple. After the first fruit is produced, side shoots (called 'suckers' by commercial growers) are produced in the leaf axils of the main stem. These may be removed for propagation, or left to produce additional fruits on the original plant. Commercially, suckers that appear around the base are cultivated. It has 30 or more long, narrow, fleshy, trough-shaped leaves with sharp spines along the margins that are 30 to 100 centimeters (1.0 to 3.3 ft) long, surrounding a thick stem. In the first year of growth, the axis lengthens and thickens, bearing numerous leaves in close spirals. After 12 to 20 months, the stem grows into a spike-like inflorescence up to 15 cm (6 in) long with over 100 spirally arranged, trimerous flowers, each subtended by a bract. Flower colors vary, depending on variety, from lavender, through light purple to red.
The ovaries develop into berries which coalesce into a large, compact, multiple accessory fruit. The fruit of a pineapple is arranged in two interlocking helices, eight in one direction, thirteen in the other, each being a Fibonacci number.
Pollination is required for seed formation, but the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason. Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples only open their flowers at night.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||209 kJ (50 kcal)|
|- Sugars||9.85 g|
|- Dietary fiber||1.4 g|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.079 mg (7%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.032 mg (3%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.5 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.213 mg (4%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.112 mg (9%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||18 μg (5%)|
|Choline||5.5 mg (1%)|
|Vitamin C||47.8 mg (58%)|
|Calcium||13 mg (1%)|
|Iron||0.29 mg (2%)|
|Magnesium||12 mg (3%)|
|Manganese||0.927 mg (44%)|
|Phosphorus||8 mg (1%)|
|Potassium||109 mg (2%)|
|Sodium||1 mg (0%)|
|Zinc||0.12 mg (1%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The flesh and juice of pineapples are used in cuisines around the world. In many tropical countries, pineapple is prepared, and sold on roadsides as a snack. They are sold whole, or in halves with a stick inserted. Whole, cored slices with a cherry in the middle are a common garnish on hams in the West. Chunks of pineapple are not only used in desserts such as fruit salad, but also as a main ingredient in savory dishes, such in hamburgers, and as a pizza topping. Crushed pineapple is used in yogurt, jam, sweets, and ice cream. The juice of the pineapple is served as a beverage, and is also as a main ingredient in such cocktails as the Piña colada.
Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese (76% Daily Value (DV) in a one US cup serving) and vitamin C (131% DV per cup serving). Mainly from its stem, pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, which breaks down protein. If having sufficient bromelain content, raw pineapple juice may be used as a meat marinade and tenderizer. Pineapple enzymes can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts, but would be destroyed during cooking and canning. The quantity of bromelain in the fruit is probably not significant, being mostly in the inedible stalk. Furthermore, an ingested enzyme like bromelain is unlikely to survive intact the proteolytic processes of digestion.
The plant is indigenous to South America and is said to originate from the area between Southern Brazil and Paraguay; however, it is important to note that little is known about the origin of the domesticated pineapple (Pickersgill, 1976). M.S. Bertoni (1919) considered the Paraná–Paraguay River drainages to be the place of origin of A. comosus. The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on the Leeward island of Guadeloupe. He called it piña de Indes, meaning "pine of the Indians," and brought it back with him to Europe thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to leave the New World. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwe and Guam. Many say the fruit was first introduced in Hawaii when a Spanish ship brought them there in the 1500s. The fruit was cultivated successfully in European hothouses, and pineapple pits, beginning in 1720.
John Kidwell is credited with the introduction of the pineapple industry in Hawaii. Large-scale pineapple cultivation by U.S. companies began in the early 1900s on Hawaii. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole who moved to Hawaii in 1899 and started a pineapple plantation in 1900. The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapple on the island of Oahu in 1901 and 1917, respectively. Dole's pineapple company began with the acquisition of 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1901, and, as previously mentioned, has grown into a major company today. Maui Pineapple Company began pineapple cultivation on the island of Maui in 1909. In 2006, Del Monte announced its withdrawal from pineapple cultivation in Hawaii, leaving only Dole and Maui Pineapple Company in Hawaii as the USA's largest growers of pineapples. Maui Pineapple Company markets its Maui Gold brand of pineapple and Dole markets its Hawaii Gold brand of pineapple.
In the USA in 1986, the Pineapple Research Institute was dissolved and its assets were divided between Del Monte and Maui Land and Pineapple. Del Monte took variety 73–114, which it dubbed MD-2, to its plantations in Costa Rica, found it to be well-suited to growing there, and launched it publicly in 1996. (Del Monte also began marketing 73–50, dubbed CO-2, as Del Monte Gold). In 1997, Del Monte began marketing its Gold Extra Sweet pineapple, known internally as MD-2. MD-2 is a hybrid that originated in the breeding program of the now-defunct Pineapple Research Institute in Hawaii, which conducted research on behalf of Del Monte, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, and Dole.
|Pineapple production – 2009|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
Southeast Asia dominates world production: in 2009, the Philippines produced 2.198 million tons and Thailand 1.894 million tons, while in the Americas, Brazil produced 1.471 million tons. Total world production in 2009 was 14.220 million tons. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples in 2001 were Costa Rica, 322,000 tons; Côte d'Ivoire, 188,000 tons; and the Philippines, 135,000 tons. Since about 2000, the most common fresh pineapple fruit found in U.S. and European supermarkets is a low-acid hybrid that was developed in Hawaii in the early 1970s.
In commercial farming, flowering can be induced artificially, and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits. Once removed during cleaning, the top of the pineapple can be planted in soil and a new plant will grow. Slips and suckers are planted commercially.
Ethical and environmental concerns
Three-quarters of pineapples sold in Europe are grown in Costa Rica, where pineapple production is highly industrialised. Growers typically use 20 kg of pesticides per hectare in each growing cycle, a process that may affect soil quality and biodiversity. The pesticides – organophosphates, organochlorines and hormone disruptors – have the potential to affect workers' health and can contaminate local drinking water supplies. Many of these chemicals have potential to be carcinogens, and may be related to birth defects.
Because of commercial pressures, many pineapple workers – 60% of whom are Nicaraguan – in Costa Rica are paid low wages.[quantify] European supermarkets' price-reduction policies have lowered growers' incomes. One major pineapple producer refutes these claims.
There are many cultivars. The leaves of the commonly grown 'Smooth Cayenne' are smooth and is the most commonly grown worldwide. Many cultivars have become distributed from its origins in Paraguay and the southern part of Brazil, and later improved stocks were introduced into the Americas, the Azores, Africa, India, Malaysia and Australia. Varieties include:
- 'Hilo': A compact 1–1.5 kg (2–3 lb) Hawaiian variant of 'Smooth Cayenne', the fruit is more cylindrical and produces many suckers, but no slips.
- 'Kona Sugarloaf': 2.5–3 kg (5–6 lb), white flesh with no woodiness in the center, cylindrical in shape, it has a high sugar content but no acid, an unusually sweet fruit.
- 'Natal Queen': 1–1.5 kg (2–3 lb), golden yellow flesh, crisp texture and delicate mild flavor, well-adapted to fresh consumption, keeps well after ripening, spiny leaves, grown in Australia, Malaysia, and South Africa
- 'Pernambuco' ('Eleuthera'): 1–2 kg (2–4 lb) with pale yellow to white flesh, sweet, melting and excellent for eating fresh, poorly adapted for shipping, spiny leaves, grown in Latin America
- 'Red Spanish': 1–2 kg (2–4 lb), pale yellow flesh with pleasant aroma, squarish in shape, well-adapted for shipping as fresh fruit to distant markets, spiny leaves, grown in Latin America
- 'Smooth Cayenne': 2.5–3 kg (5–6 lb), pale yellow to yellow flesh, cylindrical in shape, high sugar and acid content, well-adapted to canning and processing, leaves without spines, this is the variety from Hawaii, and the most easily obtainable in U.S. grocery stores. Both 73–114 and 73-50 are of this cultivar.
- Some pineapple species are grown as ornamentals for color, novel fruit size and other esthetic qualities.
Traditional medicine and preliminary research
Both the root and fruit may be eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory or as a proteolytic agent. In some practices, it may be used to induce abortion or menstruation or as an antihelminthic agent.
Bromelain from pineapple has some potential against cancer mechanisms, as laboratory research showed that it causes autophagy in mammary carcinoma cells, stimulating turnover of MCF-7 cells through apoptosis.
Pests and diseases
Pineapples are subject to a variety of diseases, the most serious of which is wilt disease vectored by mealybugs typically found on the surface of pineapples, but possibly in the closed blossom cups. Other diseases include pink disease, bacterial heart rot, anthracnose, fungal heart rot, root rot, black rot, butt rot, fruitlet core rot, and yellow spot virus. Pink disease is characterized by the fruit developing a brownish to black discoloration when heated during the canning process. The causal agents of pink disease are the bacteria Acetobacter aceti, Gluconobacter oxydans, and Pantoea citrea.
Storage and transport
Some buyers prefer green fruit, others ripened or off-green. A plant growth regulator, Ethephon, is typically sprayed onto the fruit one week before harvest, developing ethylene, which turns the fruit golden yellow. After cleaning and slicing, they are typically canned in sugar syrup with added preservative.
A pineapple will never become any riper than it was when harvested, though a fully ripe pineapple can bruise and rot quickly.
The fruit itself is quite perishable and storage of it should be taken seriously. If it is stored at room temperature, it should be used within two days; however, if it is refrigerated, the time span is extended to five to seven days.
Usage in culture
In the Caribbean, Europe and North America, the pineapple became associated with the return of ships from extended voyages, and an emblem of welcome and hospitality that made its way into contemporary art.
In the American cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob's home is a large pineapple.
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