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Mexican researchers study ancient tropical and subtropical fruits to develop biopesticides and biofuels

The soursop, chincuya, ilama and custard apple are part of the anonaceae, trees or shrubs that belong to a botanical group so old that it is possible to consider them as living fossils.


Custard apple.

Researchers from the Chapingo Autonomous University (UACh), a public educational asset of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Mexican Government, carry out studies to use and transform the peel, pulp and seeds of soursop, chincuya, ilama and cherimoya into biopesticides and biofuels.

The researcher at the UACh Plant Science Department and project coordinator, Eloísa Vidal Lezama, explained that the research is carried out with the objective of identifying and quantifying the compounds, metabolism and germination physiology in the fruits of anonaceae – trees or shrubs. – from the states of Yucatán, Chiapas and the State of Mexico.

She pointed out that these products are sweet and of high nutritional value, having an important source of carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, and are attractive and exotic.

She also indicated that the fruits are usually distinguished by their medicinal, ornamental and biological insecticide use for extracting essences and oils, living fences, firewood and wood to make work tools.

The specialist said that these species contain a wide range of compounds – alkaloids, terpenoids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, acetogenins – and fatty acids (linoleic, oleic and stearic), whose bioactivity is associated with their cytotoxic effect – which eliminates cancer cells. antitumor, antibacterial, pesticide and antimalarial.

Vidal Lezama stressed that research is valuable for different productive sectors, but it has been limited to the field of agronomy, both in scientific and technological knowledge.

She even hoped that the results will promote training for technicians and producers in the sustainable management of pests and diseases in their plots, through the use of these derivatives, and promote innovation in the use of fruit by-products.

They promote conservation and sustainable use

The researcher explained that some of these anonaceae species are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions and belong to a botanical group so old that it is possible to consider them as living fossils.

However, she noted, some have not evolved at the same rate as those domesticated. It is a family, whose primitive characteristics and response to stress must be studied for its best use.

Hence, the study also develops strategies for understanding seed germination, a fundamental component in the life cycle of plants and a source of information, in order for the next generation to disperse, establish, develop and reproduce for the perpetuation of the species, he noted.

For the researchers of the university, the highest house of studies in Agronomy, the findings will promote the conservation and sustainable use of these fruits, research, cultivation, industrialization and marketing, since these agricultural products have attracted more attention from the markets. in the world, due to the potential added value that can be given to them, added Vidal Lezama.

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