© 2014 Mukesh S. Sikarwar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License -NonCommercial-
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Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science Vol. 4 (08), pp. 091-097, August, 2014
Available online at http://www.japsonline.com
A Review on Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg (breadfruit)
Mukesh S. Sikarwar1, Boey Jia Hui2, Kumutha Subramaniam2, Bavani Devi Valeisamy2, Ling Kar Yean2, and Kaveti
1 Unit of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, AIMST University, Semeling, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia. 2 Research Student, Unit of
Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, AIMST University, Semeling, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia.
Received on: 04/07/2014
Revised on: 22/07/2014
Accepted on: 08/08/2014
Available online: 27/08/2014
(Family: Moraceae) is commonly referred to as breadfruit as it is similar to freshly baked
bread. Synonyms of Artocarpus altilis are Artocarpus communis and Artocarpus incisus. Basically Artocarpus
species consists of phenolic compounds which include flavonoids, stilbenoids, arylbenzofurons and Jacalin, a
lectin. Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is originated from A. camansi Blanco (bread nut) whic
h is native to New
Guinea, Moluccas (Indonesia) and the Philippines. Many on-
going researches are testing the pharmacological
activities of Artocarpus altilis. Some of the researches that are being carried out on this plant includes anti-
oxidant, antifungal, sexual behavior, immunomodulatory effect, antidiabetic effect and
antibacterial effect. This review will help to provide detailed information on recent researches done on this plant.
Artocarpus altilis, Indonesia,
Herbalism is an ancient practice that actually predates
our recorded human history. According to the records, herbalism
has been accepted as back as Sumerian practices dated back to
5000 years. History of herbal drugs in India dates back to 1900
B.C. which comprises of many herbs that are used in conventional
herbal medicinal system.
In modern era, herbal ingredients are sometimes
marketed for condition and ailments that were never considered in
the traditional systems of medicines. Use of ephedra for weight
loss or athletic performance enhancement is one of the examples.
In Germany, herbal drugs are considered as ‘phytomedicines’, in
which they are subjected to quality control measurement for
safety, quality and efficacy. Most of the herbal/food products are
sold and regulated as nutraceuticals, which does not require pre-
approval for these above criteria (Glatz, 2011).
* Corresponding Author
Mukesh S. Sikarwar, Unit of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of
Pharmacy, AIMST University, Semeling, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia
Most of the plants in the universe are known to possess
therapeutic properties and have been used since ancient times to
treat various human diseases effectively and efficiently. One such
plant is Artocarpus altilis which belongs to the family, Moraceae. It
is commonly referred to as breadfruit as it is similar to freshly
baked bread. Breadfruit is a tropical fruit and the breadfruit tree
produces fruits from March to June and from July to September
(Akanbi et al., 2009). Breadfruit is also known to be a traditional
starch rich crop. The genus Artocarpus (Moraceae) comprises of
approximately 50 species and is widely distributed in tropical and
subtropical regions (Timothy, 2014). The generic name of the
species comes from the Greek words ‘artos’ (bread) and ‘karpos’
(fruit) and the fruits eaten are commonly called breadfruit (Jones,
2011). Synonyms of Artocarpus altilis are Artocarpus communis
and Artocarpus incises (Orwaet et al., 2014). Basically Artocarpus
species consists of phenolic compounds which includes flavonoids,
Jacalin, a lectin and stilbenoids. Artocarpus extracts and
metabolites from leaves, stem, fruit and bark contain numerous
beneficial biologically active compounds and these compounds are
used in the various biological activities including antibacterial,
antitubercular, antiviral, antifungal, antiplatelet, antiarthritic,
tyrosinase inhibitory and cytotoxicity (Jagtap and Bapat, 2014).
et al. /
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (08); 2014: 091-097
The fruits are great source of carbohydrate and it has low
fat. Since the fruit can be steamed, fried, baked, roasted and fried,
they can be eaten at all stages of growth. Although breadfruits are
rich in carbohydrates, but they are substituted partially for wheat
flour in many products such as snacks, pastries and bread.
Artocarpus altilis is a suitable crop for the hot, humid, tropical
lowlands areas. Rain is a crucial factor that plays an important role
in the flowering and rate of growth of the fruit. It requires rainfall
of fairly equal distribution. Artocapus altilis grows best in
equatorial lowlands; it is occasionally found in the highlands, but
the production and the quality of the fruits decreases in cooler
conditions. Good drainage is essential, and trees may bear fruits
when the soil is wet. The soil conditions required for the proper
growth of the plants are sand, sandy loam or loam. This plant
grows best at temperature 21- 32 °C. The soil should be neutral to
alkaline in condition, pH 7.4-6.1.
TAXONOMICAL CLASSIFICATION (Nayeem et al. 2013)
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is originated from A.
camansi Blanco and A. Mariannensis Trecul. A. camansi Blanco
(bread nut) is native to New Guinea, Moluccas (Indonesia) and the
Philippines. Around 3000 years ago, breadfruit was first cultivated
in the western Pacific and spread throughout the tropics by
migrating Polynesians where it has been cultivated widely by the
Pacific islanders. Several seedless Polynesian breadfruit varieties
and bread nut from New Guinea were introduced in the Caribbean
in the late 1700s, where the breadfruit is considered as food for the
poor people. Later on, it has been distributed widely in Central and
South America, Africa especially in Senegal, Ghana and Liberia,
India mainly in the coastal regions of Karnataka and Kerala,
Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles,
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Northern Australia and South Florida
(Deivanai and Bhore, 2010).
MORPHOLOGY (Diane, 1997; Ragone, 2006)
Tree In general, breadfruit trees are very large, evergreen
which can reach to heights of 15 to 20 meters. The tree comprises
smooth, light-colored bark, and the trunk is large in 1.2 m in
diameter, occasionally growing to a height of 4 m before
branching. The wood is gold in colour, but when contact with air,
turns to a darker colour. Latex can be seen in all parts of the tree
which are milky in nature.
Leaves The leaves are thick and leathery with a dark-green
colour on the dorsal side, which often appears to be glossy. The
underside is dull with an elevated midrib and main veins. The
leaves varies in size and shape even on the same tree. At the end of
the branches, the leaves are seen as clusters. The crown is conical
in shape when the trees are young or grown under shaded
condition and they become rounded and irregular when it turns
older. Blade is generally smooth, glossy dark green with green or
yellow-green veins and many white to reddish-white hairs on the
midrib and vein.
Flowers Breadfruit tree bears a multitude of tiny flowers. The
breadfruit is monoecious which means the female and male
flowers grows on the same plant. Club shaped spikes which are 5
cm in diameter and 45 cm in long are found in Male flowers
whereas the female flowers are elliptical, green, pricky head
measuring about 2.5 in (6.35 cm) long. Flowers undergo cross
pollination with small powdery pollen grain spread by both the
wind and insects. Once both the male and female flowers are fused
together, it develops into a fleshy and edible fruit. Although the
reproduction of flowers involves cross pollination, but pollination
does not require the fruit to form.
Fruits Fruits of Artocarpus altilis are of a very specific
structure. In fruit, the central part contains many latex tubes and
large vascular bundles. These vascular bundles can rapidly
discolour upon cutting because of the oxidative enzyme activity.
The fruits are variable in size, shape and surface texture. Mostly
they are round, oval and oblong in shape ranging from 9-20 cm,
more than 30 cm in long and usually weighing around 0.25-6 kg.
Aggregate fruit (syncarp) is formed by the enlargement of the
entire female head. The ripe fruits of these female flowers are
roundish in shape and are 4 to 8 inches in diameter. The ripe fruits
have yellow or yellow-brown skin and the fruits are soft and sweet
Fig. 1 Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg (breadfruit) in natural habitat.
Sikarwar et al. / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (08); 2014: 091-097 093
at the same time. The colour of the breadfruits are usually light
green, yellowish green or yellow in colour when mature and the
fruit (Afara) found in Society Island is pinkish or orange-brown in
colour. The flesh of the fruit is usually creamy, soft with a pleasant
Seeds Breadfruits are available with seeds and also without
seeds. The seeded types of breadfruit are available in south
western Pacific, whereas seedless types of breadfruit are common
in Micronesia and Eastern islands of Polynesia. All the breadfruit
varieties elsewhere especially in topic region are of seedless type.
Seeds are brown in colour, shiny, round or ovoid in shape and
irregularly compressed. Moreover, the seeds have little or no
endosperm, no period of dormancy and they can germinate
immediately. Since they can germinate immediately, they are not
able to be dried or stored. Trees that grow with the help of seeds
can produce their fruits in a timeline of 6-10 years or sooner. On
the contrary, asexually propagated trees can start to produce their
fruits in 3-6 years of time.
PHYTOCHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF ARTOCARPUS
Phytochemicals are secondary metabolites. Wide
varieties of phytochemicals are produced by plants. They function
to attract animals or prevent infection, parasitism and predation but
not necessary for basic metabolism. The Artocarpus genus can
produce a large number of secondary metabolites usually rich in
phenylpropanoids such as flavonoids and flavones. They also
produce phenolic compounds including flavonoids, stilbenoids and
arylbenzofurons. Over 130 compounds are identified in various
organs of the tree of Artocarpus altilis, more than 70 of which
derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway. Many of the isolated
compounds exhibit biological activity such as inhibit platelet
aggregation, anti-bacterial activity, anti-fungal properties,
inhibition of leukemia cells and as an anti-tumor agent (Handa et
al., 2008). Nutritional compositions of the seeds have water,
protein, carbohydrate, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, niacin,
thiamine and vitamin C (Rahul, 2013).
Artocarpus altilis contains some chemical constituents
such as morin, moracin, dihydromorin, cynomacurin,
cyclomorusin, artocarpin, isoartocarpin, cyloartocarpin,
artonol, artonin, artocarpesin, isoartocarpesin,
1) Cycloartocarpin isolated from root stem 2) Cycloartobiloxanthone from root bark. 3) Cudraflavone B from root .
4) Cudraflavone C from root bark. 5) Morusin from root bark.
6) Broussochalcone A 7) Kazinol A 8) Morin
Fig. 2 Structures of some isolated compounds. Continued…
et al. /
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (08); 2014: 091-097
oxydihydroartocarpesin, artocarpetin, norartocarpetin (20, 40, 5, 7
tetrahydroxyflavone), cycloartinone, cyclogeracommunin,
cyclocommunol, cycloartenyl acetate, β-sitosterol, sitosterol-β-D-
glucopyranoside, ursolic acid, betullic acid acetate, artocarpanone,
cudraflavone, artoflavon, orartocarpanone (20, 40, 5, 7
tetrahydroxyflavanone), oxyresveratrol and artoindonesianin F(40-
[3-methyl-1(E)-butenyl]-(E)-2,30,4,50-stilbenetetrol) (Solanki and
Nagori, 2012). This species also contains broussochalcone A,
kazinol A, broussoaurone A, cycloartocarpin A,
cycloheterophyllin and broussoflavonol F (Lewis, 1961).
Methanolic, ethyl acetate and petroleum ether leaf extract
of Artocarpus altilis have steroids, phytosterols, gums and resins.
Besides, the other constituents present in the leaf extract are 72.5%
amino acids, 68.2% fatty acids and 81.4% carbohydrates. 15.52
g/100 g fresh weight of starch content is present in breadfruit.
Essential amino acids like cystine, arginine, histidine, leucine,
lysine, metheonine, theonine, tryptophan, sucrose, fatty acids and
ellagic acid are the constituents of Artocarpus altilis. Calcium,
iron and sodium are the minerals in breadfruit (Huie, 2002).
Isoprenylated flavonoids with an isoprenyl side chain at C-3, and
2’, 4’-dioxygenation or 2’, 4’, 5’ trioxigenation patterns in ring B
of the flavone skeleton are specific to Artocarpus species.
Prenylflavonoids and geranyl flavonoids are produced by this plant
(Delazar et al., 2012).
Breadfruits contains geranyl dihydrochalcones such as 1-
dihydrochalcone and 1-(2,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3-[8-hydroxy-2-
yl]-1-propanone (Raymond, 2003).
1) Pharmacological uses (Somashekhar, 2013)
Many on-going researches are testing the
pharmacological activities of Artocarpus altilis. Some of the
researches that are being carried out based on these plants includes
Anti-inflammatory activity, Antifungal potential, Sexual behavior
study, Immunomodulatory potential, Antidiabetic activity,
Antibacterial activity, Anti-cholinergic effect, Chelating activity,
Nutritional assessment, as cosmetic agent, ACE inhibitors,
Antioxidant activity, Toxicity to cancer cell, Anthelmintic
potential, Protease inhibitors, Regulation of oestrogens and
melanin biosynthesis inhibition.
INTERACTIONS (Natural Standard, 2014)
5-Alpha reductase inhibitors
Based on laboratory tests, heartwood extract of
Artocarpus altilis may produce a potent 5-alpha reductase
inhibitory activity, and care must be taken when using 5-alpha
9) Cycloheterophyllin 10) Ursolic acid 11) Cycloartenol
12) B-sitosterol 13) Artocarpetin 14) Norartocarpetin
Fig. 2 Structures of some isolated compounds.
Sikarwar et al. / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (08); 2014: 091-097 095
reductase inhibiting herbs and supplements, as the additive effects
may cause some adverse reactions.
In an in vitro study, breadfruit tree preparation of 10(-2)-
2.10(-3) concentration interferes with Hymenolepis nana (dwarf
tapeworm) motility by causing motor excitation, contracture, and
finally leads to death. Concomitant use of breadfruit with herbs or
supplements that exhibits anthelminthic activity may have additive
2) Anticoagulants and antiplatelets
Based on an in vitro study, root extracted from
Artocarpus altilis can inhibit the formation of thromboxane (an
inducer of platelet aggregation). Furthermore, breadfruit may
theoretically potentiate the effects of other herbs and supplements
that increase bleeding risks.
Frutackin, a lectin present in the seed extract of
Artocarpus incisus inhibits the growth of Fusarium moniliforme
and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Breadfruit seed extract may
theoretically show synergistic activity when administered in
combination with other antifungal herbs or supplements.
According to the laboratory test, chemical components
found in the leaves of Artocarpus altilis exhibits cytotoxic and
apoptotic effects on human cancer cells by increasing the
expression of apoptosis-inducing proteins such as Fas, FasL, and
p53 proteins. Leaf extracts of breadfruit may theoretically have
synergistic effect on antineoplastic herbs or supplements.
Based on laboratory research, Thai breadfruit's
(Artocarpus incisus) heartwood extract exhibits antioxidant
activity depending on the dose and they may have an additive
effect when taken with antioxidant herbs and supplements.
6) Hematological agents
According to the in vitro studies conducted on animals
and humans, frutackin shows hemagglutination activity against
erythrocytes and therefore they may have additive effects with
antihemagglutinin herbs or supplements.
Based on research done on animals, it is found that the
leaf extracted from Artocarpus altilis exerts a weak negative
chronotropic effect to reduce left ventricular pulse pressure and
also exerts a negative inotropic effect on right ventricular
myocardial strips. Breadfruit may theoretically potentiate the
effects of other herbs and supplements that alter myocardial
8) Skin-lightening agents
An in vitro study conducted on melanocyte B16F1
melanoma cells has shown that Artocarpus altilis extract reduced
melanin content in these cells by inhibiting melanin synthesis. On
the other hand, in another study, it is found that when the
heartwood extracts from Artocarpus altilis is applied on the back
of guinea pig, melanin biosynthesis is inhibited without causing
any skin irritation.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY OF ARTOCARPUS ALTILIS
1) Antitubercular and Antiplasmodial
Pakawan Puangsombat et al. used dichloromethane to
extract and isolate nine prenylated flavones, three from the root
stems of Artocarpus altilis which are cycloartocarpin, artocarpin,
and chaplashin; and six from the root barks, morusin, cudraflavone
B, cycloartobiloxanthone, artonin E, cudraflavone C and
artobiloxanthone. They performed the antitubercular activity
against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra using the micro plate
Alamar blue assay (MABA) and the antimalarial activity against
the parasite Plasmodium falciparum (K1, multidrug-resistant
strain) using the microculture radioisotope technique. They
concluded that these prenylated flavones exhibited antitubercular
and antiplasmodial activities, while exhibiting moderate cytotoxic
activity towards KB (human oral epidermoid carcinoma) and BC
(human breast cancer) (Boonphong et al., 2007).
Oluwatosin and Olubukola (2014) used methanol extract of
Artocarpus altilis and also questran as standard to learn the plant’s
effect on the atherogenic indices and redox status of cellular
system of hypercholesterolemic (HC) rats. They induced
hypercholesterolemia in male rats by administrating 30mg/ 0.3mL
of dietary cholesterol by oral gavage for nine consecutive weeks.
They concluded that extract of Artocarpus altilis has significant
anti-atherogenic effect and also improves antioxidant system of
hypercholesterolemic rats via their ability to produce favourable
lipid parameters, significant increase in HDL-C and improved
Wang et al (2006) identified the main cytoprotective components
by a bioassay guided isolation of the ethyl acetate extract which
afforded β-sitosterol and six flavonoids. The cytoprotective effect
suggested the promising medicinal applications of Artocarpus
4) Skin Lightening Agent
Gottumukkala et al. (2013) isolated dendrite elongation
inhibitory compounds from the extracts of Artocarpus altilis with
methanol and subjected the active fractions obtained to
chromatography method. They conducted the dendrite elongation
study by using melanocyte cells, B16F10.
et al. /
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (08); 2014: 091-097
Finally, they concluded that the crude methanolic extract,
fractions and isolated compound showed good dendrite elongation
activity and these active compounds can be used in skin care
formulations for the lightening of the skin.
5) Antioxidant Agent
Horng-Huey et al. (2013) evaluated the antioxidant activities
of flavonoids isolated from heartwood and cortex of Artocarpus
altilis including their inhibitory effects on mushroom tyrosinase
and melanin biosynthesis in vitro. They assessed the ability of the
prenylated flavonoids including 10-oxoartogomezianone, 8-
geranyl-3-(hydroxyprenyl)isoetin, hydroxyartoflavone A,
isocycloartobiloxanthone , and furanocyclocommunin , together
with 12 other known compounds to scavenge the DPPH, ABTS+
radical cation, and the superoxide anion (O2), and their
capabilities to inhibit tyrosinase and melanin production in order
to identify the natural antioxidants and whitening agents. Their
investigation resulted in compounds hydroxyartoflavone A,
isocycloartobiloxanthone and artoflavone A having moderate
DPPH-scavenging activity, whereas compound
isocycloartobiloxanthone exhibits significant ABTS+-scavenging
activity, and that norartocarpetin and artogomezianone exhibits
moderate ABTS+-scavenging activity, with compounds 8-geranyl-
3-(hydroxyprenyl)isoetin , norartocarpetin , and artocarpin
displaying good superoxide anion-scavenging activity. They
concluded that these flavonoids are suitable as antioxidants and/or
skin-whitening agents. However, further investigations are
required to determine their mechanisms of action.
6) Alpha Amylase and Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitor
Sindhu et al. (2013) evaluated the inhibitory activities of
methanolic extracts of Artocarpus altilis, Cinnamomum
zeylanicum, Piper betel and Artocarpus heterophyllus on Wheat
alpha amylase and Baker’s yeast alpha glucosidase at varying
concentrations. They concluded that the methanolic extracts of the
all the plants efficiently inhibited alpha glucosidase enzyme in
vitro. However, only Artocarpus heterophyllus can be useful in the
management of postprandial hyperglycaemia.
Carine et al. (2010) investigated the antiparasitic
potential of the leaf of phenolics containing Artocarpus altilis
(Parkinson) var. seminifera and var. non seminifera and
Terminalia cattapa L., against the gastro intestinal nematode
(GIN) Haemonchus contortus. Their in vitro assay results showed
the A extract of Terminalia cattapa L. dead leaves exhibited egg
hatching inhibition compared with the negative control while the
A extract of T. cattapa L. dead leaf and the M extracts of T.
cattapa L., A. altilis (Parkinson) var. seminifera and var. non
seminifera dead leaf exhibited larval development inhibition
compared with negative control.
8) Antimicrobial Agent
Chinmay et al. (2013) investigated the antimicrobial
activity of Artocarpus altilis leaf extracts in different solvent
media (petroleum ether, methanol, and ethyl acetate). They
concluded that the methanol extract of Artocarpus altilis leaf in
high concentration has the highest antimicrobial activity while
petroleum ether and ethyl acetate leaf extracts showed better
effectiveness at low concentrations.
Nwokocha et al. (2012) proved that the breadfruit can be
used as an antihypertensive by investigating the possible
mechanisms of action of its aqueous extract and its effect on
cytochromes P450 (CYP) enzyme activities. The aqueous leaf
extract A. altilis was administrated intravenously via cannulated
carotid artery of anaesthetized normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats.
The rats are subjected to atropine, mepyramine, propranolol and N
(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester. Their result showed moderate
inhibitions of cytochrome P450s (CYP3A4 and CYP2D6) enzyme
activities and they concluded that the A. altilis produces negative
chronotropic and hypotensive effects through α-adrenoceptor and
Ca²⁺ channel antagonism.
10) Antiausteric Agent
Nguyen et al. (2014) has determined that the methanolic
leaves extract of the Artocarpus altilis has maximum preferential
cytotoxicity against PANC-1 human pancreatic cancer cells under
nutrient-deprived conditions at a concentration of 50µg/mL. They
successfully isolated eight new geranylated dihydrochalcones
named sakenins A-H (1-8) together with four known compounds
(9-12) from the methanolic leaves extract of Artocarpus altilis.
They have identified sakenins F (6) and H (8) as potent cytotoxic
11) Mosquito Deterrent
Jones et al. (2012) investigated the chemicals in the dried male
inflorescences of breadfruit which is responsible for mosquito,
Aedes aegypti deterrence. They proved that the male breadfruit
flowers and fatty acids has the ability as mosquito repellent via
systematic bioassay-directed study of the hydrodistillate of A.
altilis and all its fractions using adult Aedes aegypti females.
The genus Artocarpus (Moraceae) comprises of
approximately 50 species and is widely distributed in tropical and
subtropical regions. The generic name of the species comes from
the Greek words ‘artos’ (bread) and ‘karpos’ (fruit) and the fruits
eaten are commonly called breadfruit. The fruits are great source
of carbohydrate and it has low fat. Since the fruit can be steamed,
fried, baked, roasted and fried, they can be eaten at all stages of
growth. Although breadfruits are rich in carbohydrates, but they
are substituted partially for wheat flour in many products such as
snacks, pastries and bread.
Akanbi T.O., Nazamid, S. and Adebowale, A.A. Functional and
pasting properties of a tropical breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) starch from
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How to cite this article:
Mukesh S. Sikarwar, Boey Jia Hui, Kumutha Subramaniam, Bavani
Devi Valeisamy, Ling Kar Yean, and Kaveti Balaji. A Review on
Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg (breadfruit). J App Pharm
Sci, 2014; 4 (0