Baru is a primitive species of the legume genus (Dipteryx alata) in the family Fabaceae, from the early branch Dipterygeae It is a large tree, usually referred to as "Baruzeiro" (Baru tree) in Portuguese, with its fruits and specially its seeds known as Baru - in Portuguese, "castanha de baru" or "amêndoa de baru", literally translated as "baru nut" and "baru almond", respectively. Other less-used names besides Baru are Cumaru, Cumbaru, Barujo, Coco-feijão, Cumarurana, Emburena-brava, Feijão-coco, and Pau-cumaru.
It is found only in the Cerrado savannah of Midwestern Brazil and part of eastern Bolivia, being threatened with habitat loss by intensive farming. Historically it has been used as lumber, for charcoal production and for shade in pastures. The fruits can be used as feed for cattle and are also a food source for birds and small mammals, such as rodents, bats, and monkeys. The seeds are highly nutritious part of the local communities' diet.
The tree can measure up to 25 m in height, 0.7 m in diameter and have a useful lifespan of 60 years. A tree will produce about 150 kg of fruit per harvest in alternating years, being pollinated by bees.
Its brown fruits are either collected from the ground or picked from the tree when they are almost ripe. The fruit usually weighs 25g, of which 30% is pulp, 65% is ligneous endocarp and 5% is seed (bean/almond).
Food and nutrition
Out of the fruit, the pulp is sweet and can be consumed fresh, but is also used to manufacture jams, jellies, and liquors; the seeds are flavorful and should be served after roasting, which deactivates a trypsin inhibitor component. These seeds can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient for baked goods, cereal bars, Pesto sauce, drinks, desserts, and ice cream; the oil extracted from the seeds may also be used as a culinary ingredient, comparable to olive oil, and as a cosmetic also.
Baru almonds are rich in:
- Anti-oxidants, mainly tocopherols
- Dietary fibers
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,238 kJ (535 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||9.2 g|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
The uses for the Baru fruit can be summarized as:
|Part of the Fruit||Product/Sub-Product||Uses|
|Pulp||Pulp in natura||Human food|
|Dehydrated Pulp||Human food|
|Residues||Farming (organic fertilizer)|
|Seed||Raw seed||Human food|
|Roasted Almond||Human Food|
|Pyroligneous acid and tar||Industrial|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dipteryx alata.|
- Cardoso, D.; De Queiroz, L. P.; Pennington, R. T.; De Lima, H. C.; Fonty, E.; Wojciechowski, M. F.; Lavin, M. (2012). "Revisiting the phylogeny of papilionoid legumes: New insights from comprehensively sampled early-branching lineages". American Journal of Botany. 99 (12): 1991–2013. doi:10.3732/ajb.1200380. PMID 23221500.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Dipteryx alata. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.blavla Downloaded on 10 July 2007.
- Chemical composition of seeds and oil of baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) native from Pirenópolis, State of Goiás, Brazil
- Fernandes, Daniela C; Freitas, Jullyana B; Czeder, Ludmila P; Naves, Maria Margareth V (2010). "Nutritional composition and protein value of the baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) almond from the Brazilian Savanna". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 90 (10): 1650–5. doi:10.1002/jsfa.3997. PMID 20564449.
- De Oliveira Sousa, Amanda Goulart; Fernandes, Daniela Canuto; Alves, Aline Medeiros; De Freitas, Jullyana Borges; Naves, Maria Margareth Veloso (2011). "Nutritional quality and protein value of exotic almonds and nut from the Brazilian Savanna compared to peanut". Food Research International. 44 (7): 2319–25. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2011.02.013. INIST:24462545.
- Siqueira, Egle Machado de Almeida; Marin, Alinne Martins Ferreira; Da Cunha, Marcela de Sá Barreto; Fustinoni, Adriana Medeiros; De Sant'Ana, Lívia Pimentel; Arruda, Sandra Fernandes (2012). "Consumption of baru seeds [Dipteryx alata Vog.], a Brazilian savanna nut, prevents iron-induced oxidative stress in rats". Food Research International. 45: 427–33. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2011.11.005. INIST:25499152.
- Fernandes, Daniela Canuto; Alves, Aline Medeiros; Castro, Gabriela Salim Ferreira; Jordao Junior, Alceu Afonso; Naves, Maria Margareth Veloso (2015). "Effects of Baru Almond and Brazil Nut Against Hyperlipidemia and Oxidative Stress in Vivo". Journal of Food Research. 4 (4): 38–46. doi:10.5539/jfr.v4n4p38.