Characteristics, food, health and economic values of the Nigerian pawpaw (Carica papaya) fruits

  • S.G. Odafe
  • K.E. Law-Ogbomo
Keywords: Papaya; physical characteristics; chemical composition; economic value


Five varieties of papaya fruits (spherical shape variety (OSV), oval shape variety (OSV), ellipsoid shape variety (ESV), cylindrical shape variety (CSV) and bulb shaped variety (BSV)) were assessed for their characteristics. On the basis of size and shape attributes, the smallest OSV measured 16.0 - 15.38 cm in diameter (longitudinal and latitudinal), and 100.04 - 96.73cm in circumference while the shape was oval. The BSV measured the biggest size which was 34.98 - 21.59 cm in long and lat. and 220.15 - 135.80 cm in circumference. The weights of matured ripe fruits varied from 0.952kg for SSV to 2.636 kg for BSV; but the values were not perfectly correlated with the fruit sizes. All the varieties had high moisture contents (MC) which were not significantly (p>0.05) among the varieties. The concentrations of crude protein (1.04 – 1.13 %), crude fiber (1.56 – 2.49 %) and ether extracts (0.16 – 0.18 %) were low in the fruits. The soluble carbohydrates were high, varying from 23.04 % in ellipsoid shaped variety (ESV) to and 30.62 % in bulb shaped variety (BSV). Calcium contents of the fruits varied from 27.0 mg/100g (BSV) to 31.0 mg/100 g (CSV) of fresh fruit. The fruits also contained potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and zinc in appreciable levels. Ascorbic acid contents of the fruits were high and significantly varied amongst the different varieties. With the nutritive contents of papaya fruits are considered useful for various food preparations hence, exploring the economic potentials of the Nigerian papaya is recommended.


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eISSN: 1118-2733