Sterculiaceae
Theobroma grandiflorum • Cupuaçu

The cupuaçu is a tree well adapted to shade, and therefore it can be grown in combination with other plants (1). The white pulp of the fruit is highly appreciated, and can be used to make drinks and all kinds of delicacies. The seeds consist for 48% of a white and aromatic fat, with some similarities to that of cacao (2). The fat of cupuaçu melts sooner and slower than that of cacao, which is in a solid state at room temperature, and melts relatively quickly when heated in the mouth (1). For this reason it is not regarded as a substitute for cacao, although as a 10% part of a mixture with cacao it is observed not to compromise the quality of the total (1). Flavonoids extracted from the seeds of cupuaçu displayed antioxidant activity as well as weak cytotoxicity in human colon cancer cell lines (3).

(1) Venturieri, GA (1993) Cupuaçu: A especie, sua cultura, usos, e processamento 108 p.

(2) Cavalcante, PB (1991) Frutas Comestiveis da Amazonia 279 p.

(3) Yang H, Protiva P, Cui B, Ma C, Baggett S, Hequet V, Mori S, Weinstein IB, Kennelly EJ (2003) New bioactive polyphenols from Theobroma grandiflorum ("cupuacu"). J Nat Prod 66(11): 1501-4