The Papaya (CARICA PAPAYA) looks like a small little branched tree, it could branch in case of wounds, with a tall up to 5-10 m. The trunk, even in mature specimens, has a soft consistency, not very woody, and has scars produced by the growth and fall of the upper leaves. The sap is of a milky consistency and toxic in the natural state for the human being, being able to produce irritations attached to the skin. The leaves, arranged in rosette at the apex of the trunk, are large, palmate-lobed, 50-70 cm in diameter. The flowers are produced at the axil of the leaves.
Papaya is not cultivated solely for its fruits, but also, and extensively, for obtaining the latex that contains proteolytic enzymes, in particular papain and chymopapain which have various uses.
The fruit is the papaya, a large rounded or ovoid berry that can weigh up to 10 kg. At maturity it is yellowish-green in color and contains an orange pulp, rich in black seeds covered with mucilage.
The papaya is a tropical fruit, appreciated all over the world for its taste, juicy and refreshing, halfway between the apricot and the melon. The papaya can be consumed raw, cooked, as a basic ingredient to prepare preserves and jams or give, by fermentation, a kind of brandy.
From the nutritional point of view, the fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants, thanks to the good content of lycopene and Vitamin A, C and E. Also the presence of folates, fibers and potassium is also discreet.
Papaya is not cultivated solely for its fruits, but also, and extensively, for obtaining the latex that contains proteolytic enzymes, in particular papain and chymopapain which have various uses. Papain production is maximal in the plants of a year, then it decreases significantly in the following years. Papain is used in the pharmaceutical industry for drugs with intestinal, digestive antiparasitic action, promoting protein absorption, and anti-inflammatory.
The optimal temperature for growth and production is 25 ° C. Being a dioecious plant the planting of more plants promotes fruiting. It must be repaired during the winter period.
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