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Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the common name for an edible tropical plant and also its fruit. It is native to Paraguaymarker and the southern part of Brazilmarker. Pineapple is eaten fresh or canned and is available as a juice or in juice combinations. It is used in desserts, salads, as a complement to meat dishes and in fruit cocktail. While sweet, it is known for its high acid content (perhaps malic and/or citric). Pineapples are the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. It is one of the most commercially important plants which carry out CAM photosynthesis.

Etymology

Pineapple and its cross section
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). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them pineapples (term first recorded in that sense in 1664) because of their resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone. The term pine cone was first recorded in 1694 and was used to replace the original meaning of pineapple.

In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) word for pine nanas, as recorded by André Thevenet in 1555 and comosus means "tufted" and refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called pine as well by laymen.

Many languages use the Tupian term ananas. In Spanish, pineapples are called piña "pine cone" in Spainmarker and most Hispanic American countries, or ananá (ananás in Argentinamarker) (see the piña colada drink). They have varying names in the languages of India: "Anaasa" (అనాస) in telugu, annachi pazham (Tamil), anarosh (Bengali), and in Malayalam, kaitha chakka. In Malay, pineapples are known as "nanas" or "nenas". In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, pineapples are known as alanaasi. A large, sweet pineapple grown especially in Brazil is called abacaxi .

Botany



The pineapple is a herbaceous perennial plant which grows to tall with 30 or more trough-shaped and pointed leaves long, surrounding a thick stem. The pineapple is an example of a multiple fruit: multiple, helically-arranged flowers along the axis each produce a fleshy fruit that becomes pressed against the fruits of adjacent flowers, forming what appears to be a single fleshy fruit.

The fruit of a pineapple are arranged in two interlocking helices, eight in one direction, thirteen in the other, each being a Fibonacci number.

The leaves of the cultivar 'Smooth Cayenne' mostly lack spines except at the leaf tip, but the cultivars 'Spanish' and 'Queen' have large spines along the leaf margins.

Pollination

The natural (or most common) pollinator of the pineapple is the hummingbird. Pollination is required for seed formation; the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaiimarker, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.

Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples, members of the bromeliad family, do the exact opposite of most flowers by opening their flowers at night and closing them during the day.

Nutrition



Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which breaks down protein. Pineapple juice can thus be used as a marinade and tenderizer for meat. The enzymes in raw pineapples can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts. The bromelain breaks down in cooking or the canning process, thus canned pineapple can generally be used with gelatin. These enzymes can be hazardous to someone suffering from certain protein deficiencies or disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Raw pineapples also should not be consumed by those with hemophilia or by those with kidney or liver disease, as it may reduce the time taken to coagulate a consumer's blood.

Consumers of pineapple have claimed that pineapple has benefits for some intestinal disorders and others believe it serves as a pain reliever; others claim that it helps to induce childbirth when a baby is overdue.

Pineapple is a good source of manganese (91 %DV in a 1 cup serving), as well as containing significant amounts of Vitamin C (94 %DV in a 1 cup serving) and Vitamin B1 (8 %DV in a 1 cup serving).

History

The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean. Columbus discovered it in the Indies and brought it back with him to Europe.The Spanish introduced it into the Philippinesmarker, Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwemarker and Guammarker. The fruit was cultivated successfully in European hothouse, and pineapple pits, beginning in 1720. Commonly grown cultivars include 'Red Spanish', 'Hilo', 'Smooth Cayenne', 'St. Michael', 'Kona Sugarloaf', 'Natal Queen', and 'Pernambuco'.

The pineapple was introduced to Hawaii in 1813; exports of canned pineapples began in 1892. Large scale pineapple cultivation by U.S.marker companies began in the early 1900s on Hawaii. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole, who started a pineapple plantation in Hawaii in the year 1900. The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapple on the island of Oahumarker in 1901 and 1917, respectively. Maui Pineapple Company began pineapple cultivation on the island of Mauimarker 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 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.

Cultivation

Southeast Asia dominates world production: in 2001 Thailandmarker produced 1.979 million tons, the Philippinesmarker 1.618 million tons while in the Americas, Brazilmarker 1.43 million tons. Total world production in 2001 was 14.220 million tons. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples in 2001 were Costa Ricamarker, 322,000 tons; Côte d'Ivoiremarker, 188,000 tons; and the Philippines, 135,000 tons.
An unripe pineapple fruit
At one time, most canned and fresh pineapples came from the cultivar 'Smooth Cayenne'. 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 fruit-bearing plant will grow in a manner similar to that of a potato or onion, which will sprout from a cutting. Crowns are the primary method of propagation for home gardeners, though slips and suckers are preferred.

Cultivars

  • '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. Leaves spiny.
  • '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. Leaves spiny.
  • '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. Leaves spiny.
  • 'Smooth Cayenne': 2.5–3 kg (5-6 lb), pale yellow to yellow flesh. Cylindrical in shape and with 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.


Ethno-medical usage

The root and fruit are either eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory and as a proteolytic agent. It is traditionally used as an antihelminthic agent in the Philippinesmarker.

Pests and diseases

Pineapples are subject to a variety of diseases, the most serious of which is wilt disease vectored by mealybugs. The mealybugs are generally found on the surface of pineapples, but can also be found inside the closed blossom cups. Other diseases include pink disease, bacterial heart rot, and anthracnose.

Storage and transport

Fresh pineapple is often somewhat expensive as the tropical fruit is delicate and difficult to ship. Pineapples can ripen after harvest, but require certain temperatures for this process to occur. Like bananas, they are chill-sensitive and should not be stored in the refrigerator. They will, however, ripen if left outside of a refrigerator. The ripening of pineapples can be rather difficult as they will not ripen for some time and in a day or two become over-ripe, therefore, pineapples are most widely available canned.

Usage in culture

  • In some cultures, the pineapple has become associated with the notion of welcome, an association bespoken by the use of pineapple motifs as carved decorations in woodworking.
  • In the Philippines, pineapple leaves are used as the source of a textile fiber called piña.


See also



References

  1. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pineapple
  2. http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/hawaiifirstpineapples.htm
  3. Oxford English Dictionary entries for pineapple and pine cones, 1971.
  4. Hawaii.gov, list of prohibited animals
  5. Nutrition Facts for pineapple
  6. http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/pow/pineapple.htm
  7. http://www.plants.am/wiki/Pineapple
  8. Diseases of Pineapple (Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.)
  9. Jahn, et al., 2003
  10. Jahn, 1995
  11. APSnet Feature - Pink Disease of Pineapple
  12. Refrigerated storage of perishable foods: Food Science Australia
  13. Symbolism of the Pineapple


Further reading

  • Francesca Beauman, 'The Pineapple', ISBN 0-7011-7699-7, publisher Chatto and Windus
  • Jahn, G. C. 1990. The role of the big-headed ant in mealybug wilt of pineapple. In G.K. Veeresh, B. Malik, and C. Viraktamath [eds.] "Social Insects and the Environment." Oxford & IBH Publishing Co., New Delhi, 614-615.
  • Jahn, G. C. 1995. Gray pineapple mealybugs, Dysmicoccus neobrevipes Beardsley, found inside of pineapple fruit. Proc. Hawaiian Entomol. Soc. 32: 147-148.
  • Jahn, Gary C., J. W. Beardsley and H. González-Hernández 2003. A review of the association of ants with mealybug wilt disease of pineapple. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society. 36:9-28.


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