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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 632: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Citrus and Other Subtropical and Tropical Fruit Crops: Issues, Advances and Opportunities

JIOTILLA PLANT (ESCONTRIA CHIOTILLA [WEBER] BRITT. & ROSE) AS A NEW RESOURCE NATIVE TO SOUTH MEXICO

Authors:   L. Yáñez, M.A. Armella, C. Pelayo, J. Soriano, G. Ramírez, D.M. Sánchez, A. Juarez, L. Garcí
Keywords:   New products, alternative resources, processing transformations, opportunities
Abstract:
Jiotilla is the fruit of a cactus tree (Escontria chiotilla L.) which grows in the semiarid Mixteca region in Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant is a medium sized, multibranched, columnar cactus between 3-6 m tall. Canopy may cover up to 100 m2, with up to 150 thorned branches, conforming the upper part. At the top of each branch fruits develop normally in small bunches, from 3-5 at a time during the production period, which lasts from June through mid September. A single branch may produce up to 20 fruits. Fruits are small and round with an average of 3.5 cm. in diameter. They have purple berries when ripe and its epidermis holds soft, yellow, paper-like scales. It has no spines like other cactus fruits. Its pulp is also purple, sometimes red, with numerous little, black, soft seeds embedded in it. It is a non-climacteric fruit, with 1.62 ml CO2/Kg/hr in average. Its flavour is soursweet, similar to that of blueberries. Its pH is of 4.2, 10-12 °Brix, which makes it tasty as a natural dessert, a minimally processed product, frozen with sugar, and also a proximal analysis determines its suitability for marmalades and jams, as well as dressing products. However, the main problem derives from the lack of a harvest index, thus, a characterization was made for pigments and its possible relationship with fruit maturity stages. In spite of this problem Jiotilla fruits seem to be eligible as a sustainable agricultural produce.
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