Miracle fruit's flowering, fruiting behaviors revealed

August 29, 2016, American Society for Horticultural Science

Miracle berry (Synsepalum dulcificum), also known as miracle fruit, is a valuable horticultural species indigenous to West Africa. The authors of a study in the June 2016 issue of HortScience say that miracle fruit is "a very promising species" that has not been adequately studied. "Miracle fruit is a rare fruit crop with high economical value in the medical and food industry," they explained. The fleshy pulp of the miracle fruit contains miraculin, a glycoprotein that has an extraordinary effect on taste buds in the tongue: it makes sour or acidic food taste sweet. The authors said that miraculin could "possibly help diabetics to eat sweet food without taking in sugar," and they noted that the fruit has already been investigated as for its potential as a natural food sweetener.

Surprisingly, very little is known about the species in terms of how miracle fruit's grow and develop. Researchers Chen Xingway, Thohirah Lee Abdullah, Sima Taheri, Nur Ashikin Psyquay Abdullah, and Siti Aishah Hassan used microscopic techniques to identify flower morphology and development of miracle fruit. Their report contains in-depth descriptions of flower and fruit developmental stages. "Our results could improve understanding of pollination ecology and methods to manipulate flowering and fruit development," they explained.

Analyses indicated that a miracle fruit flower took 100 days to develop from reproductive meristem to full anthesis. The scientists found that the flower development could be divided into six distinct stages based on size and appearance of the flower bud.

Heavy fruit dropping was observed at 40 to 60 days after anthesis, which contributed to low fruiting percentage. The fruit with persistent style developed and ripened 90 days after anthesis. "Successful pollination coupled with proper nutrient and water management could decrease premature fruit drop and obtain greater miracle fruit yield," the authors said.

"From the observations on the flowering behavior and flower architecture in this study, miracle fruit is suggested to be insect-pollinated and has features that prevent self-fertilization," the scientists noted. They recommended further research on pollination ecology be performed to identify the pollinator for miracle fruit.

Explore further: Researchers uncover secrets of 'miracle fruit'

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/c … nt/51/6/697.abstract

Related Stories

Researchers uncover secrets of 'miracle fruit'

September 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Though not very well known in the United States, at least until the past few years, the miracle fruit is a cranberry like fruit that has the unique property of being able to make acidic or bitter foods taste ...

Why do strawberries have their seeds on the outside?

May 11, 2016

"Why do strawberries have their seeds on the outside, instead of on the inside?" That was the question one of my daughters asked recently. I had no idea, so I reached out to Chris Gunter, an associate professor of horticultural ...

New use for passion fruit seeds discovered

December 17, 2015

The passion fruit is used around the world in juices, salads, syrups and even ice cream.  A team of researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil have discovered that the passion fruit seed oils, which are typically ...

Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit

April 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —Fruit-eating animals are known to use their spatial memory to relocate fruit, yet, it is unclear how they manage to find fruit in the first place. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology ...

Why fruit cracking differs among sweet cherry varieties

May 23, 2016

Sweet cherries are susceptible to a condition called "cracking", in which the skin of the fruit is strained, causing fractures or "cracks". The condition, which limits marketability of the fruit, may be a result of factors ...

Recommended for you

Research offers new insights into malaria parasite

May 18, 2018

A team of researchers led by a University of California, Riverside, scientist has found that various stages of the development of human malaria parasites, including stages involved in malaria transmission, are linked to epigenetic ...

What we've learned about the nucleolus since you left school

May 17, 2018

The size of a cell's nucleolus may reveal how long that cell, or even the organism that cell belongs to, will live. Over the past few years, researchers have been piecing together an unexpected link between aging and an organelle ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.