(Willd. ex Spreng.) K.Schum.
Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), also spelled cupuassu, cupuazú, cupu assu, and copoasu, is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao. Common throughout the Amazon basin, it is widely cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in the north of Brazil, with the largest production in Pará, followed by Amazonas, Rondônia and Acre.
Cupuaçu trees usually range from 5–15 m (16–49 ft) in height, though some can reach 20 m (66 ft). They have brown bark and leaves are 25–35 cm (9.8–13.8 in) long and 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) across, with 9 or 10 pairs of veins. As they mature, the leaves change from pink-tinted to green, and eventually they begin bearing fruit. Cupuaçu fruits are oblong, brown, and fuzzy, 20 cm (7.9 in) long, 1–2 kg (2.2–4.4 lb) in weight, and covered with a thick 4–7 mm (0.16–0.28 in), hard exocarp.
The white pulp of the cupuaçu has an odour described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple and is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like a pear, with a hint of banana.
Cupuaçu butter is a triglyceride composed of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, giving the butter a low melting point (approximately 30 °C) and texture of a soft solid, lending its use as a confectionary resembling white chocolate. Main fatty acid components of cupuaçu butter are stearic acid (38%), oleic acid (38%), palmitic acid (11%) and arachidic acid (7%).
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- Yang, H.; Protiva, P.; Cui, B.; Ma, C.; Baggett, S.; Hequet, V.; Mori, S.; Weinstein, I. B.; Kennelly, E. J. (2003). "New bioactive polyphenols from Theobroma grandiflorum ("cupuaçu")". Journal of Natural Products 66 (11): 1501–1504. doi:10.1021/np034002j. PMID 14640528.
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- Cohen, K. de O. & Jackix, M. de N. H. (2009). "Características químicas e física da gordura de cupuaçu e da manteiga de cacau" (pdf). Documentos / Embrapa Cerrados (in Portuguese) (269): 1–22.
- Lourido, G.; Silva, N. M.; Motta, C. (2007). "Parâmetros Biológicos e Injúrias de Macrosoma tipulata Hübner (Lepidoptera: Hedylidae), em Cupuaçuzeiro [Theobroma grandiflorum (Wild ex Spreng Schum)] no Amazonas" [Biological parameters and damage by Macrosoma tipulata Hübner (Lepidoptera: Hedylidae), in Cupuaçu tree [Theobroma grandiflorum (Wild ex Spreng Schum)] in Amazonas, Brazil] (pdf). Neotropical Entomology (in Portuguese) 36 (1): 102–106. doi:10.1590/S1519-566X2007000100012. PMID 17420867.