Taiwan Researchers Try to Perfect Noni Harvest


Does your noni juice come from fruits that were picked too early, too late, or at just the right time?

Like other fruits, noni (Morinda citrifolia L.) contains significant amounts of nutritious compounds. These nutrients, however, rise and decline during the different growth stages of the fruit. To give noni farmers and manufacturers an idea about when to pick noni-for reasons of nutrient density but also fruit weight-researchers in Taiwan spent a year examining noni fruit during both winter and summer growing seasons.

With scopoletin and rutin as their nutrients of interest, the researchers measured changes in these nutrient levels from inflorescence (the early flowering stage of the plant) to of these compounds from the beginning of inflorescence (flowering of the plant) to the standard of commercial harvest-the yellow and unusually smelly, but sweet fruit. The same was done for fruit mass characteristics, including fresh weight, dry weight, volume, length, and width.

While total phenolic contents increased to a constant during the growth of noni fruits, rutin and scopoletin contents in particular peaked at 112 days from the start of flowering. Curiously, rutin contain was highest in the winter harvest-more than two times the content of the summer harvest-and this is attributed to the warmer temperature and drought prior to the winter harvest, which signals the plant to produce rutin as a response to stress.

For parties most concerned about picking noni when it's at its maximum value in weight, harvest at 126 days after initial flowering yielded the biggest fruits. The full results of the study are now published in the journal Scientia Horticulturae.


Robby Gardner
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook magazine

Photo © iStockphoto.com/luamduan

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