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Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)

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Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a deliciously sweet tropical fruit with musky undertones and a distinctive pleasant aroma. It was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries ago but is currently being cultivated in most of the tropical countries. Everything in papaya plant such as roots, leaves, peel, latex, flower, fruit and seeds have their nutritional and medicinal significance. Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. Papaya is considered as a low calorie nutrient dense fruit. The fresh fruit is commonly used as a carminative, stomachic, diuretic and antiseptic in many parts of the world. The nutrients and phytochemicals contained in papaya help in digestion, reduce inflammation, support the functioning of cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems and may also help in prevention of colon, lung and prostate cancers. Overall, the papaya can act as a detoxifier, activator of metabolism, rejuvenating the body and in the maintenance of body's homeostasis because it is rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid, and potassium and magnesium as well as fiber. Because of its high vitamin A and carotenoids contents, it can help in preventing the cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Papaya pastes can be used externally as a treatment for skin wounds and burns. This paper discusses the nutritional and medicinal value of papaya (Carica papaya L.) and its relationship to human health.
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In: Natural Products and their Active Compounds ISBN: 978-1-62100-153-9
© 2011 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Chapter 8
NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL
VALUES OF PAPAYA (CARICA PAPAYA L.)
Amanat Ali1*, Sankar Devarajan2, Mostafa I. Waly1,
Mohammad M. Essa1 and M.S. Rahman1
1 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine
Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud, P.O. Box 34, PC 123, Muscat, Oman.
2 Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital,
Fukuoka, Japan and WHO Regional Office, Japan.
ABSTRACT
Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a deliciously sweet tropical fruit with musky
undertones and a distinctive pleasant aroma. It was first cultivated in Mexico several
centuries ago but is currently being cultivated in most of the tropical countries.
Everything in papaya plant such as roots, leaves, peel, latex, flower, fruit and seeds have
their nutritional and medicinal significance. Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid,
and in medicine. Papaya is considered as a low calorie nutrient dense fruit. The fresh fruit
is commonly used as a carminative, stomachic, diuretic and antiseptic in many parts of
the world. The nutrients and phytochemicals contained in papaya help in digestion,
reduce inflammation, support the functioning of cardiovascular, immune and digestive
systems and may also help in prevention of colon, lung and prostate cancers. Overall, the
papaya can act as a detoxifier, activator of metabolism, rejuvenating the body and in the
maintenance of body’s homeostasis because it is rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, folate
and pantothenic acid, and potassium and magnesium as well as fiber. Because of its high
vitamin A and carotenoids contents, it can help in preventing the cataract and age-related
macular degeneration. Papaya pastes can be used externally as a treatment for skin
wounds and burns. This paper discusses the nutritional and medicinal value of papaya
(Carica papaya L.) and its relationship to human health.
* Corresponding author: Dr. Amanat Ali, email: amanat@squ.edu.om
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
2
INTRODUCTION
The papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a tropical fruit that is native to the tropics of South
America. According to the historical reports, it was first cultivated in Mexico several
centuries ago but is currently being cultivated in most of the tropical countries. The current
largest commercial producers of papaya include the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Currently many genetically modified hybrid varieties are commercially available for
cultivation, which are more resistant to diseases (Jiao et al., 2010). Over the past 40 years the
production of papaya has increased drastically. The estimated production in the year 2009
was 10.21 million tons (FAO, 2010).
Papaya is normally a single stem plant that can reach up to 10 meters, with spirally
arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk (Rice et al., 1987). It is a highly frost
sensitive plant. The plant grows rapidly and starts fruiting within one and half to 3 years. The
productive life of the plant is about three and a half year. Although there is a slight seasonal
peak in its production in early summer and fall, yet the papaya tree can produce the fruit year
round. The flowers appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into large spherical, pear-
shaped fruit whose length can vary from 7 to 20 inches and can reach up to 2.5kg in weight.
Papaya fruit has normally greenish yellow, yellow or orange color. The fruit is climacteric
and exhibits an increase in respiration and ethylene production during ripening (Koslanund,
2003). The fruit ripens rapidly at room temperature. It is ripe when it feels soft and its colour
changes to amber or orange hue. The shelf life of the ripened fruit is short only 2 to 3 days
(Archbold et al., 2003). The two flesh colours (red and yellow) of papaya fruit are controlled
by the same single gene, however the yellow colour is dominant (Yamamoto, 1964). The red
colour of papaya fruit is due to the accumulation of lycopene, whereas the yellow colour is
the result of conversion of lycopene to β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin (Hirschberg, 2001). As
the fruit ripens, its colour changes, which is caused by the breakdown and disappearance of
chlorophyll. The flesh colour of papaya fruit is considered a quality trait that correlates with
its nutritional value and is linked to shelf life of the fruit. The full genomic sequences of both
yellow and red fleshed papayas have been reported to be identical (Skelton et al., 2006). No
significant compositional differences have been reported between the transgenic and non-
transgenic papaya (Jiao et al., 2010).
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS AND USES OF PAPAYA
Papaya is a deliciously sweet fruit with musky undertones and a distinctive pleasant
aroma. It has a soft texture with butter-like consistency (Bari et al., 2006). Its taste and
sweetness increases with the ripening process of fruit. However, the overripe fruit quickly
starts deteriorating in quality. This is a greatly loved tropical fruit that was sensibly called
“The Fruit of Angels” by Christopher Columbus. Papaya plant is also called a "tree of health"
and its fruit is termed as a "fruit of long life". Ripe papaya flesh has a rich orange color with
either yellow or pink hues. The inner cavity contains a wealth of black round seeds, encased
in a gelatinous-like substance. The leaves, stem, and unripe fruit of papaya release a whitish
milky fluid (latex) that consists of proteins, alkaloids (mainly carpaine), starches, sugars, oils,
tannins, resins, pectins and gums, which coagulate on exposure to air. Green papaya is a rich
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
3
source of papain and chymopapain. Papain, the proteolytic enzyme, is regarded as vegetable
pepsin that helps in the digestion of proteins in acid, alkaline or neutral medium. Papain is
used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes
of trauma and allergies. Papain is also used in tenderizing meat and other proteins as it has the
ability to break down the tough meat fibres and is used since thousands of years. Papain is
included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers. Papain is used in chewing gum, in
brewing/wine and beer making, textile and tanning industries (Bruneton, 1999, Bhattacharjee,
2001, Oloyede, 2005). Papain and chymopapain have been shown to help lower inflammation
and to improve healing from burns in addition to helping in digestion of proteins.
The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit can be
eaten both as raw and cooked but is usually eaten as cooked in curries, salads and stews.
Unripe fruit has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies. In
some parts of Asia, the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. The
leaves are also made into tea to be used as a preventive agent for malaria, although there is no
real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment. The black seeds are edible and
have a sharp, spicy taste. The ground seeds are sometimes used as a substitute for black
pepper. The stem and bark are also used in rope production. Papaya is also frequently used as
a hair conditioner. Papaya is used in making soft drinks, jam, ice cream, and flavouring of
crystallized fruit and canned in syrup. Papaya pulp nectar prepared using irradiation and mild
heat treatment retained its fresh flavour and nutritional qualities closest to untreated controls
and was found to be microbiologically safe with acceptable enzyme levels (Parker et al.,
2010).
Everything in papaya plant such as roots, leaves, peel, latex, flower, fruit and seeds have
their nutritional and medicinal significance. Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and
in medicine. In general, the papaya promotes proper functioning of pancreas, alleviates
indigestion, protects against infection, aids in diabetics and hepatitis patients. The
consumption of ripe papaya is thought to help in the prevention of cancer in organs and
glands with epithelial tissue. Papaya has rejuvenating properties that especially assist in
controlling the early ageing process. Overall the papaya acts as a detoxifier, activates the
metabolism, rejuvenates the body and maintains the body’s homeostasis because it is rich in
antioxidants, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid, the minerals potassium and magnesium,
and fiber. Papaya juice is a popular beverage and can assist in mitigating infections of the
colon and breaking down the pus and mucus. It is believed that it can act as a useful tonic for
the stomach and intestines, if consumed alone for at least 3 days. In the folklore medicine,
sometimes it is suggested to go for “Papaya Therapy” once a year i.e., to eat one or two
papayas daily for 2 to 4 week to benefit from its healing properties.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND
NUTRITIONAL QUALITY OF PAPAYA
The nutritional qualities and medicinal value of papaya are closely related. The papaya
can be considered as a nutrient dense food, as it provides many more nutrients on per calorie
basis as compared to other foods. The chemical composition as well as the mineral and
vitamin composition of fresh papaya is given in Tables 1 and 2. It contains only small
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
4
amounts of protein and is almost free from cholesterol and fat. The carbohydrate content of
ripe papaya mainly consists of invert sugars, which are easily digestible and absorbed. Ripe
fruit can therefore easily boost body’s energy.
Table 1. The chemical composition of fresh papaya fruit
Parameters
Range
Energy
39.0 - 41.4 (kcal/100g)
Moisture
86.9 89.8 %
Crude protein
0.5 - 0.6 (g/100g)
Total fat
0.1 - 0.14 (g/100g)
Ash
0.5 - 0.7 (g/100g)
Crude fibre
0.4 - 0.8 (g/100g)
Dietary fibre
0.5 - 2.2 (g/100g)
Carbohydrates
7.5 - 10.98 (g/100g)
Total Sugars
7.2 - 9.8 (g/100g)
Sucrose
1.9 - 6.1 (g/100g)
Glucose
2.6 -3.4 (g/100g)
Fructose
2.1 - 2.6 (g/100g)
The values are calculated based on the data reported by Adetuyi et al. (2008), Gouado et al. (2007),
Nakamura et al. (2007), Nguyen and Schwartz (1999), Sirichakwal et al. (2005), Wall (2006), Wall
et al. (2010), Veda et al. (2007).
Table 2. Vitamin and Mineral Composition of fresh papaya fruit
Parameters
Range
Vitamin A (RAE)*
23 55 (μg/100g)
Vitamin E
3.13 5.3 (mg/100g)
Vitamin K
2.3 2.9 (μg/100g)
Vitamin C
57 108 (mg/100g)
Thiamine (vitamin B1)
0.04 0.05 (mg/100g)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
0.05 - 0.07 (mg/100g)
Niacin
0.34 44 (mg/100g)
Pyridoxine
0.1 0.15 (mg/100g)
Folate
39 55 (μg/100g)
Calcium
17 24 (mg/100g)
Phosphorous
5 9 (mg/100g)
Magnesium
10 33 (mg/100g)
Sodium
3 24 (mg/100g)
Potassium
90 257 (mg/100g)
Iron
0.23 - 0.66 (mg/100g)
Manganese
0.01 0.03 (mg/100g)
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
5
Parameters
Range
Zinc
0.06 0.09 (mg/100g)
Copper
0.06 0.14 (mg/100g)
Boron
0.01 0.21 (mg/100g)
Selenium
1.2 1.5 (μg/100g)
The values are calculated based on the data reported by Adetuyi et al. (2008), Gouado et al. (2007),
Nakamura et al. (2007), Nguyen and Schwartz (1999), Sirichakwal et al., (2005), Wall (2006),
Wall et al. (2010), Veda et al. (2007).
The whole papaya fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber and therefore can also help
in preventing the constipation. The fiber content of papaya can help in lowering the high
blood cholesterol levels. Papaya is rich in vitamins C and A. One serving of papaya can
provide about 100% daily requirement for vitamin C and 30% of vitamin A. It also
contributes to small quantities of vitamin E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and
folate. Folic acid is needed for the conversion of homocysteine to cysteine and methionine.
The increased level of homocysteine in blood is considered a significant risk factor for a heart
attack or stroke as it can directly damage the wall of blood vessels (Antoniades et al., 2009,
Seo et al., 2010). Papaya could be a candid source to reverse the homocysteine mediated
cardiovascular diseases since it has profuse amount of folic acid. The nutrients contained in
papaya can also help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. The oxidized cholesterol sticks
to the internal lining of blood vessels, forming dangerous plaques that can eventually cause
heart attacks or strokes. Data from various studies indicate that dietary vitamin E and C may
exert some effect in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol because of their suggested
association with paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits the oxidation of LDL and HDL
cholesterol (Jarvik et al., 2002, Schürks, et al., 2010, Gaby, 2010). Papaya also contains small
amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and
selenium. It has low levels of sodium and high levels of potassium and can therefore be
helpful for the hypertensive people to balance their overall daily dietary intake of sodium.
PHYTOCHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF PAPAYA
In addition to its nutritional contents, papaya also contains many bioactive
phytochemicals with diverse structure and functional properties which have not yet been fully
exploited for their potential health benefits. The phytochemical composition of fresh papaya
is given in Table 3. It contains substantial amounts of carotenoids, flavonoids and
polyphenols. It contains relatively high levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts to
vitamin A. Papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (USDA,
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 2006). Red flesh papaya has been
reported to contain significant quantities (4.1 mg/100g flesh) of lycopene (Nguyen and
Schwartz, 1999).
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
6
Table 3. Phytochemicals Composition of fresh papaya fruit
Parameters
Range
α- carotene
16 31 (μg/100g)
β- carotene
130 730 (μg/100g)
Lycopene
113 4138 (μg/100g)
β-Cryptoxanthin
124 3799 (μg/100g)
Zeaxanthin
19 27 (μg/100g)
Total provitamin A
256 890 (μg/100g)
Lutein
93 318 (μg/100g)
Total carotenoids
321.2 7210 (μg/100g)
Total Polyphenols
51 59 (mg GAE/100g)1
Total Antioxidant Activity - ORAC
250 350 (μmol TE/100g)2
Total Antioxidant Activity - FRAP
350 430 (μmol TE/100g)3
Phytate
1.22- 1.45 (g/100g)
Oxalate (g/100g)
0.45- 57 (g/100g)
Condensed tannins (g/100g)
0.062 -0.087 (g/100g)
Hydrolysable tannins (g/100g)
0.021- 033 (g/100g)
1 GAE = Gallic acid equivalent.
2 Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) expressed as μmol of Trolox Equivalent (TE) per 100 g
of fresh weight.
3 Ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), expressed as μmol of Trolox Equivalent (TE) per 100 g of
fresh weight.
The values are calculated based on the data reported by Adetuyi et al. (2008), Gouado et al (2007),
Nakamura et al. (2007), Nguyen and Schwartz (1999), Sirichakwal et al., (2005), Wall (2006),
Wall et al. (2010), Veda et al. (2007).
Because of its high phytochemical contents, it shows significant antioxidant activities.
During the growing process, papaya produces some specific compounds (such as benzyl-
isothiocyanate; BITC and carpaine) to protect itself against the attacks of insects, pests and
herbivores. These natural toxins may exert some adverse effects on human health when
consumed in large quantities. However, their levels in mature papaya fruit are low and
therefore are considered as safe for humans (Roberts et al., 2008). Benzyl isothiocyanate
(BITC) isolated from the extracts of papaya whole fruit has shown potent diverse biological
activities in inducing the phase 2 detoxifying enzymes and apoptosis (Nakamura et al., 2000
and 2002, Miyoshi et al 2004 and 2007). Nakamura et al. (2007) reported that papaya seeds
represent a rich source of biologically active isothiocyanates and the n-hexane extract of
papaya seeds homogenate was highly effective in inhibiting the superoxide generation and
apoptosis induction in HL-60 cells, the activities of which are comparable to those of
authentic benzyl isothiocyanate. In contrast, the papaya pulp contained an undetectable
amount of bezyl-glucosinolate. They showed that papaya seeds and not the papaya pulp is a
rich source of biologically active isothiocyanate, especially the BITC and its precursor
glucosinolate, which are as high as those in Brassica vegetables. BITC is formed from benzyl
glucosinolate in papaya seeds (Bennett et al., 1997).
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
7
Papaya is also a good source of carpaine. It is one of the major alkaloid components of
papaya leaves that have been studied for its cardiovascular effects in male Wistar rats.
Increasing dosages of carpaine from 0.5 mg/kg to 2.0 mg/kg resulted in progressive decrease
in systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure. It was concluded that carpaine directly
affects the myocardium. The effects of carpaine may be related to its macrocyclic dilactone
structure, a possible cation chelating structure (Burdick, 1971, Hornick et al., 1978). The
extracts of unripe papaya have been reported to contain terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids,
carbohydrates, glycosides and steroids (Ezike et al., 2009). The papaya lipase is currently
considered as a “naturally immobilized” biocatalyst (Dominguez de Maria et al., 2006).
The papaya also contains some other anti-nutrient compounds such as phytate, oxalate
and tannins. The levels of these anti-nutrients (phytate, oxalate, hydrolysable tannins and
condensed tannins) and antioxidants (vitamin C, tocopherols, total phenols, and carotenoids)
contents of papaya (Carica papaya) can decrease significantly (P < 0.05) with increased
storage period and temperature (Adetuyi et al., 2008). Simirgiotis et al (2009) reported the
presence of 10 low molecular weight quercetin glycoside derivatives in the fruit of mountain
papaya (Vasconcellea pubescens A DC) grown in Chile. It is also called "cold papaya" as it
grows in relatively cooler climates as compared to the popular and widely cultivated Carica
papaya L. The fruits of mountain papaya are mostly consumed after processing and are also
used in the production of jams, beverages, cold drinks and cocktails (Idstein et al., 1985,
Moya-Leon et al., 2004). Oliveira et al (2010) observed that the nutritional quality of papaya
(Carica papaya L.) in terms of its vitamin C and carotenoids contents showed excellent
stability under the usual handling conditions employed in commercial restaurants.
MEDICINAL AND HEALTH EFFECTS OF PAPAYA
The overall nutritional and health benefits of papaya are because of the interactions of its
nutrients and phytochemicals present in whole fruit, rather than due to a single “active”
component. Because of its high antioxidant contents, papaya can prevent cholesterol
oxidation and can be used as a preventive treatment against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart
attacks and diabetic heart disease. The fresh fruit is commonly used as a carminative,
stomachic, diuretic and antiseptic in many parts of the world (Iwu, 1993, Bhattacharjee,
2001). A number of studies have reported the various pharmacological properties of C.
papaya (fruit and seeds) such as histaminergic action, inhibition of rabbit jejunal contractions,
and tocolytic and antihelminthic activities and anti-ulcer properties (Adebiyi et al., 2003,
2004, Adebiyi and Adeikan, 2005, Okeniyi et al., 2007, Ezike et al., 2009). Papaya can
strengthen the immune system therefore can help in preventing the recurrent colds and flu.
After treatment with antibiotics eating papaya or drinking its juice can help to replenish the
intestinal microflora. Papaya has also been reported to have significantly high hydroxyl
radical and hydrogen peroxide scavenging activity (Murcia et al., 2001). The fermented
papaya products showed free radical scavenging activity and were effective in providing
protection against various pathological disorders including tumors and immunodeficiency
(Osanto et al., 1995). The fermented papaya products improved the antioxidant defense in
elderly patients without any overt antioxidant deficiency state at the dose of 9g/day orally
(Marotta et al., 2006a, b).
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
8
Many active components from papaya have been isolated and studied. Papain, the main
proteolytic enzyme in papaya, is also being studied for relief of cancer therapy side effects,
especially in relieving the side effects such as difficulty in swallowing and mouth sores after
radiation and chemotherapy as well as boosting up the immune system and helping body to
fight against the cancer cells. The supplements produced by dehydrating and concentrating
the whole fruit may be helpful for people who do not get enough of these components in their
daily diet. Dried papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems. Papaya
pills, juices, and whole food supplements containing papaya are currently being promoted as
weight loss aids, digestive aids, and natural pain relievers, as well as for many other health
benefits. Whether the papaya pills and supplements can prevent or counteract these ailments
is still to be validated through well-designed controlled studies. Papaya leaves are poultice on
to nervous pains and elephantoid growths. They are also dried and infused to make a tea,
which is used as a vermifuge, an amoebicide, a purgative, to prevent and treat malaria, and as
a treatment for gastritis and genitor-urinary ailments.
PROMOTES THE FUNCTIONING OF DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
The consumption of papaya after a meal can improve digestion, prevent bloating and
chronic indigestion as well as may help in preventing nausea, vomiting and morning sickness
in pregnant women. Papaya has also been reported to increase the absorption of iron from rice
based meals in Indian women (Ballot et al., 1987). Papaya is used in the preparation of
antacids, ulcer treatment and to prevent constipation. The unripe papaya extracts have shown
cytoprotective and antimotility properties, suggesting the effectiveness of unripe papaya as an
anti-ulcer fruit (Ezike et al., 2009).
ANTHELMINTIC AND ANTI-AMOEBIC PROPERTIES
Human intestinal parasitosis constitutes a significant global health problem with
enormous financial implications, in particular in developing countries. In folk medicine, C.
papaya seeds have been used to treat the antheminthiasis (Bhattacharjee, 2001, Okeniyi et al.,
2007). The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves contain carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid
that can remove the parasitic worms from the body. The carpaine can however be dangerous
in high doses. In folklore medicine, the papaya seeds when taken with honey are known to be
anthelmintic for expelling the worms. The latex of papaya as well as the aqueous extracts of
papaya seeds have shown potent anthelmintic and anti-amoebic properties (Satrija et al., 1994
and 1995). Among others, the active chemical agents contained in Carica papaya seeds and
fruit are benzyl isothiocyanate and papain that have proven anthelmintic properties (Kumar et
al., 1991, Tona et al., 1998, Ghosh et al., 1998). The air dried papaya seeds offer a cheap,
harmless and preventive strategy against intestinal parasitosis, especially in tropical
communities (Okeniyi et al., 2007).
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
9
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND WOUND HEALING PROPERTIES
Papaya is thought to contain some natural pain relieving abilities. The unique protein
digesting enzymes (papain and chymopapain) have been reported to help in lowering the
inflammation and healing of burns. Papaya can lower inflammation in the body, alleviate pain
and edema caused by sport injuries. The antioxidant nutrients found in papaya, including
vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene can also help in reducing inflammation. Because of
its anti-inflammatory properties papaya can relieve the severity of rheumatoid arthritis,
polyarthritis and osteoarthritis. It has been reported that people who consumed the lowest
amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis
than those who consumed the highest amounts (Pattison et al., 2004). This may explain why
the people with diseases that are worsened by inflammation, such as asthma, osteoarthritis
and rheumatoid arthritis, find a relief in their sufferings when they get more of these nutrients.
Collard and Roy (2010) observed that oral supplementation of fermented papaya preparation
(FPP) in adult obese diabetic (db/db) mice specifically improved the response of wound-site
macrophages and subsequent angiogenic response. They suggested that the beneficial effects
of FPP should be tested in clinical trials for its beneficial effects on diabetic wound-related
outcomes as it has a long track record of safe human consumption.
Papaya is also a rich source of fibrin, an important factor in the blood clotting process
and can therefore help in quick healing of wounds. This factor is not common in the plant
kingdom and is mainly formed in the body of animals, papaya being an exception. Papaya
paste/ointment, made from fermented papaya flesh, is used traditionally for the relief of
burns, cuts, rashes and stings. The latex can however, cause irritation and may provoke some
allergic reaction in hypersensitive people. Data from the preliminary studies suggest that the
treatment with papaya preparations and aqueous extracts may help to facilitate the wound-
healing response (Nayak et al., 2007, Pieper and Caliri 2003). Papaya derived enzyme papain
has been shown to facilitate the enzymatic wound debridement when applied topically
(Telgenhoff et al., 2007). The aqueous extracts have also shown significant wound healing
properties in diabetic rats (Dawkins et al., 2005, Nayak et al., 2007). The papaya fruit is used
in topical ulcer dressing and for burn dressings to treat the wounds. The possible mechanism
of action may be due to proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain as well as the
antimicrobial activity (Hewitt et al., 2002, Starley et al., 1999). The fruit can also be directly
applied to skin sores and seeds could also be effectively used for treating chronic skin ulcers.
PROTECTION AGAINST AGE-RELATED
MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD)
Papaya is considered as the top ranking fruit in terms of its carotenoids, flavonoids, fibre,
vitamin A, ascorbic acid, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, calcium and fibre contents
per serving (USDA, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 2006, Luximon-
Ramma et al., 2003, Lim et al., 2007). The consumption of papaya is therefore recommended
to prevent the vitamin A deficiency, a cause of childhood blindness in many tropical and
subtropical developing countries (Chandrika et al., 2003, Gouado et al., 2007). Our bodies
need vitamin A for the maintenance of epithelial surfaces, for immune competence, for
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
normal functioning of retina, as well as for growth, development and reproduction. Dark
green as well as the coloured fruits and vegetables provide provitamin A carotenoids.
Reducing the vitamin A deficiency can save the eyesight and lives of countless children and
adults. Higher dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin E from foods and supplements
have been reported to be associated with significantly decreased risk of neovascular age-
related macular degeneration (AMD), geographic atrophy, large or extensive intermediate
drusen and cataract (AREDS Research Group, 2007, Christen et al., 2008).
Arscott et al. (2010) observed that diets supplemented with papaya, oranges, mangoes
and tangerines were able to prevent vitamin A deficiency in Mongolian gerbils. They
suggested that these fruits could be an effective part of food-based interventions to support
vitamin A nutrition in developing countries and worldwide. Eating 3 or more servings of fruit
per day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the primary cause of
vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings
of fruit daily. Although the intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were
not strongly related to the incidence of either form of AMD, fruit intake was definitely
protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease.
The bioavailability of carotenoids from fresh papaya fruit and its juice were found to be
better as compared to dry slices. It was suggested that fresh papaya fruit and its juice can
efficiently contribute to improve vitamin A status of the population. The high carotenoid
contents of papaya can provide a better vitamin A value and anti-oxidative capacity to the
people living in vitamin A deficient areas. Veda et al. (2007) reported that the bioaccessibility
of β-carotene from two different varieties of papaya was similar (31.4 to 34.3%). Addition of
milk increased the bioaccessibility by 19 and 38% in these two varieties. They suggested that
the addition of milk to mango and papaya pulp is advantageous to derive provitamin A
activity.
PROTECTION AGAINST LUNG AND PROSTATE CANCERS
Data from the in-vivo animal studies suggests that there is a relationship between vitamin
A, lung inflammation, and emphysema. Laboratory animals fed on vitamin A-deficient diets
developed emphysema (Li et al., 2003). Cigarette smoke contains a common carcinogen
(benzo-(a)-pyrene) that can induce vitamin A deficiency. Eating vitamin A rich foods such as
papaya can help to counteract the effects of vitamin A deficiency caused by the
benzo(a)pyrene in cigarette smoke, and can thus greatly reduce the emphysema. A number of
studies have shown the protective effects of dietary intake of supplementary vitamin A as
well as provitamin A containing vegetables and fruits in lung cancer. Jin et al. (2007) reported
an inverse association between the consumption of vitamin A and pro-vitamin A rich
vegetable and lung cancer in Taiwan. In a case control study, Jian et al (2007) observed that
regular intake of lycopene-rich fruits (tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon,
papaya, and guava) and drinking green tea may greatly reduce the risk of developing prostate
cancer in men. They suggested that the synergistic protective effect of regular consumption
of both the green tea and lycopene rich fruits was stronger than the protection provided by
either of them individually.
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
ANTIFUNGAL AND ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES
The ripe and unripe fruits have been reported to have significant antibacterial activity
against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilus Eschericia coli,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Salmonella typhi, and Schigella flexneri as well
as antimicrobial activity against Trichomonas vaginalis trophozoites (Emeruwa, 1982, Osato
et al., 1993, Dawkins et al., 2005). The latex proteins are considered to have the antifungal
action (Giordani et al., 1996). The papaya chitinase has been reported to have antifungal and
antibacterial activities (Chen et al., 2007). The bacteriostatic activity of papaya may also be
attributed to its free radical scavenging potential. Papaya latex was effective in inhibiting the
growth of Candida albicans and showed synergistic action when used mixed with
Fluconazole. Papaya seed can be used as an antibacterial agent for Eschericia coli,
Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi. However, further research is needed before
advocating large-scale therapy. Being a good bleaching agent, papaya forms a vital ingredient
in liquid and bar bath soaps, hand washes, astringents and even detergent bars.
ANTIFERTILITY AND CONTRACEPTIVE USE OF PAPAYA
In India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries, green papaya is
traditionally used as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion, as its phytochemicals can
negate the effects of progesterone (Oderinde, 2002). Ripe fruit however did not show any
contraceptive properties. Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses.
Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. It is
speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content, which may cause
uterine contractions leading to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a
contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn
animals. In animal model studies on rats, langur monkeys and rabbits, the methanol sub-
fraction of the extracts from seeds of Carica papaya L. has been shown to possess 100%
contraceptive efficacy by inhibiting the sperm motility without any adverse systemic side
effects on libido and toxicity and has been identified as a putative candidate for male
contraception (Lohiya et al., 1999, Udoh et al., 2005, Lohiya et al., 2005 and 2008). Goyal et
al. (2010) reported that the long term oral daily administration of methanol-sub-fraction
(MSF) of the extract of seeds of Carica papaya affected the sperm parameters without any
adverse systemic side effects and is clinically safe to use as male contraceptive. These results
verify the traditional use of papaya as a potential male contraceptive in some parts of Assam,
India (Tiwari, 1982). The aqueous seed extracts have shown abortifacient properties in female
Sprague Dawley rats, whereas the ether, alcoholic and aqueous extracts inhibited the
ovulation in rabbits (Oderinde et al., 2002, Kapoor et al., 1974). The normal consumption of
ripe papaya during pregnancy does not pose any significant danger. Only small quantities of
ripe papaya fruit should be consumed during pregnancy, as green papaya and papaya seeds
can cause miscarriage, particularly in large amounts, due to their contraceptive and
abortifacient competence. However, the use of unripe or semi-ripe papaya could be
considered as unsafe in pregnancy (Adebiyi et al., 2002).
Amanat Ali, Sankar Devarajan, Mostafa I. Waly et al.
SUPPORT FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
AND ANTI-MUTAGENIC PROPERTIES
Vitamin C and vitamin A are both needed for the proper functioning of a healthy immune
system. Papaya contains significant quantities of vitamin C and provitamin A (beta-carotene)
and therefore may be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear
infections, colds and flu. The nutrients in papaya have also been shown to be helpful in the
prevention of colon cancer. Rahmat et al. (2002) reported that both pure and extracted
lycopene as well as papaya juice showed antiproliferative and anticancer properties on liver
cell line (Hep G2) and the juice appeared to be more effective than the extracted lycopene in
inhibiting the cancer cell growth. Papaya's fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the
colon and keep them away from the healthy colon cells. The other nutrients provide
synergistic protection for colon cells from free radical damage to their DNA.
The fermented papaya products (FFP) have shown the ability to modulate the oxidative
DNA damage due to H2O2 in rat pheochromocytoma tumor cells and protection of brain
against oxidative damage in hypertensive rats (Aruoma et al., 1998). The FFP also exhibit
supportive role in reducing the oxidative inflammatory damage in cirrhosis caused by
hepatitis C virus (Marotta et al., 2007). The papaya juice when compared with standard
antioxidant (vitamin E) showed comparable efficacy and safety in reducing the oxidative
stress (Mehdipour et al., 2006). It has therefore been suggested that FPP (because their free
radical scavenging potential) can be used as a prophylactic food against age-related and
neurological diseases and may improve the lipid profile by inhibiting the lipid peroxidation
(Imao et al., 1998, Rahmat et al., 2004).
The fruit juice of papaya may contain some anti-hypertensive agents, which may
modulate the α-adenoreceptor activity and may help in lowering the blood pressure (Eno et
al., 2000). The ethanol extracts of papaya seeds showed some diuretic properties equivalent to
that of hydrochlorothiazide (Sripanidkulchai et al., 2001). The nutrients and phytochemicals
contents of papaya may be effective in the prevention of diabetes mellitus complications
(Savickiene et al 2002). The ethanol and aqueous extracts of papaya have also reported to
have hepatoprotective activities against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced hepatotoxicity
(Rajkapoor et al., 2002). Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective in toxicity-induced
kidney failure. Papaya seed extracts are currently being marketed as nutritional supplements
with the claims to improve immunity and body functioning as they have been reported to
have imunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory actions (Mojica-Henshaw et al., 2003).
CONCLUSION
Papaya can help in the digestion of food proteins, renewal of muscle tissues,
revitalization of human body and slowing of ageing process as well as in the maintenance of
body's homeostasis. The nutrients and phytochemicals contained in papaya can reduce
inflammation, support the functioning of cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems and
may also help in prevention of colon, lung and prostate cancers. Papaya pastes can be used
externally as a treatment for skin wounds and burns. Because of its high vitamin A and
carotenoids contents, it can reduce the cataract and age-related macular degeneration. More
Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Papaya (Carica Papaya L.)
extensive studies and well-designed randomized clinical trials are however, required to
explore the role of papaya in the prevention of different forms of cancers, cardiovascular
diseases, age-related macular degeneration and the ailments of gastrointestinal system.
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... Papaya (Carica papaya), a member of the family Caricaceae, is a tropical fruit rich in dietary antioxidants (vitamin C, tocopherols, total phenols, and í µí»½-carotene) [4] and bioactive phytochemicals with antioxidant activity (benzyl isothiocyanate) [5]. Different parts of C. papaya (leaves, barks, roots, latex, fruit, flowers, and seeds) are used in folk medication to treat a broad range of diseases [6]. ...
... The studies of the antioxidant nutrients in C. papaya have led to the identification of the main compounds that differ in the different organs. Whole fruit extract contains ferulic, pcoumaric, and caffeic acid, carotenoids, and vitamin C that collectively protect human cells from oxidative stresses [4] and promote wound healing and skin repair [8,9]; leaves extract contains folic acid, vitamins B 12 , A, and C, alkaloids, saponins, glycosides, tannins, and flavonoids [10] with anticancer activity [11,12] and protection against the alcoholinduced oxidative damage to the gastric mucosa [13]; seeds extract contains different phenolic compounds, vanillic acid, and vitamin C with antioxidant [14][15][16][17] and anticancer [5] activities. Thus, C. papaya extracts may act as a synergistic therapeutic dietary supplement in patients with oxidative stress related diseases or could be added to formulations to promote wound healing. ...
... In this context, C. papaya seeds water extract could be a source to exploit. In fact, papaya seeds contain several molecules, like fatty acids, crude protein, crude fiber, papaya oil, carpaine, benzyl isothiocyanate, glucotropaeolin, benzyl thiourea, hentriacontane, í µí»½-sitosterol, caricin, and an enzyme myrosin [7] that confer vermifuge [25,26], abortifacient [27,28], antifertility [29][30][31][32], wound-healing [33], anticancer [34], antibacterial [35], and antifungal [36] properties as well as antioxidant activities for the presence of secondary metabolites, such as phenolic compounds, vanillic acid, flavonoids, í µí»¼-tocopherol, and vitamin C. Despite the wide and historical use of C. papaya in the traditional management of many diseases [4], the scientific validation of the use of papaya seeds as antioxidant is scarce. Therefore, in the present work we tested C. papaya seeds water extract that conforms to the use in folk medicine and ensures no toxicity related to chemicals used during the preparation. ...
... The plant is known by its weak and usually unbranched soft stem providing copious white latex and crowded by terminal cluster of large and long stalked leaves 6 . Papaya is a known tropical fruit rich in dietary antioxidants (vitamin C, tocopherols, total phenols, and -carotene) 7 and bioactive phytochemicals with antioxidant activity (benzyl isothiocyanate) 8 . ...
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The increasing resistance of microorganism to antibiotics and toxicity of some antibiotics drugs has resulted in the search for more effective therapy from new organic molecules from plants with antibacterial and antifungal properties. This study is important to see the increasing resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics. It is also carried out to see the effect of pawpaw seed extracts and latex on fungi and bacteria. The pawpaw latex and seed oil extract were analyzed for their antimicrobial activities. The pawpaw seed oil extract and latex had marked bactericidal effect against clinical isolates (B. subtilis, E. coli, S. aureus) and fungicidal effect against the isolates (Microsporumspp, Trichonphytonspp and Epidermophytonspp). The bactericidal and fungicidal effects of the extract were dose dependent. Minimum inhibitory concentration for the bacteria isolates (S. aureus and E. coli) were 2.5mg/ml and 1.0mg/ml while B. subilis showed no inhibition with latex but was inhibited by the seed oil extract at 1.50mg/ml. The minimum inhibitory concentration of the fungi was higher in the seed extract than the latex with the exception in C. albicans. The result obtained showed that pawpaw seed oil extract and latex have some antimicrobial properties. The scientific implications of these results are fully discussed.
... The papaya fruit (carica papaya L.) is known for its food and nutraceutical value (Ali et al., 2011;Santana et al., 2019). It has considerable amounts of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A), tocopherol (vitamin E), potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese (Ali et al., 2012). As part of a healthy diet, it may reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome components such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes (Santana et al., 2019). ...
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Yoghurt is a popular fermented milk product across the globe. As consumers become more health conscious, there has been rising interest in probiotic yoghurts, fermented with bacteria that can promote human health, as well as yoghurts containing fruit pieces, juice or pulp, which increase the levels of phytochemicals, dietary fibre and some vitamins in the product. Generally, the fruit products are added only up to about 20%. Here we investigated the physicochemical, sensory and microbial properties of analogous fermented products containing milk, but consisting mainly of papaya fruit pulp. Formulations were made at different ratios ranging from 50-100% papaya pulp. Yoghurt (with 0% papaya) was made to serve as the control. Conditions for pasteurization prior to fermentation were optimized for the control of yeasts and molds. The products were fermented with a probiotic culture consisting of Streptococcus thermophilus + Lactobacillus acidophilus + Bifidobacterium spp. Sensory analysis on a 9-point hedonic scale revealed an increase in acceptability of the various attributes with increase in pulp. Formulations containing 80% to 100% papaya fruit were found to be most liked and of comparable quality to the control, having scores of ≥ 7 (ranging from moderately liked to liked very much)) in colour, taste, texture and overall acceptability. Compared to the control, these formulations were found to contain more ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, dietary fiber and carbohydrates. The control was however higher in thiamine, protein and fat levels. The products were stable under refrigerated storage (4 ⁰C) for 3 weeks. In conclusion, we found that papaya pulp fermented with a probiotic starter culture, and containing up to 20% milk had good sensory acceptability. The health benefits of such products are worthy of further investigations.
... In the vegetable group, Indian spinach showed 0.41% fat, which was the highest fat content among the vegetable group, but the value was lower than a study on Indian spinach in India, where 0.70% fat found. 48 The fat content of Papaya (0.10%) was very lower than the Papaya of India (0.26%), Banana of Nigeria content 0.83% fat 49,50 whereas banana of ours had 0.73% fat. The discrepancy of these nutrient contents may explain by the geographical differences and soil conditions. ...
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Antioxidant plays essential roles in the maintaining of good health. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of antioxidants. Antioxidant contents in fruits and vegetables could vary in geographical distribution and also in the same soil for different time intervals. Therefore, the present study aimed to analyze the total antioxidant status and proximate analysis of some selected locally available fruits and vegetables and they were Mangiferaindica, Musa acuminate, Psidium guajava, Carcia papaya, Lagenariasiceraria, Trichosanthesdioica, Momordica charantia, Basella alba, and Amaranthus gangeticus from three villages. In this analysis, total antioxidant status was determined by DPPH free radical scavenging assay, and proximate analysis of moisture, ash, fat (Soxhlet extraction method), and protein (Kjeldahl method with N × 6.25) were determined as the method outlined in AOAC (2005). Among the four fruits sample, Papaya hadthe highest moisture content (88.08%)but was lower in ash, protein, fat, and carbohydrate contents. Among the vegetables, Bottle gourd had the highest moisture content (94.14%).Regarding all samples, Red amaranth showed the highest ash (1.59%) and protein (4.32%) content. However, both Mango and Papaya showed the lowest protein content (0.70%). Fat content was low in Papaya and Bottle gourdwith 0.10% and 0.15% respectively. For the carbohydrates, Banana was the greatest source with 22.62%. Furthermore, among the fruits Guava had the highest total antioxidants activity of 70.90% and among vegetables, Bitter gourd had 45.47% which was the highest compared to other studiedvegetables. Whereas, Indian spinachhad the
... In the vegetable group, Indian spinach showed 0.41% fat, which was the highest fat content among the vegetable group, but the value was lower than a study on Indian spinach in India, where 0.70% fat found. 48 The fat content of Papaya (0.10%) was very lower than the Papaya of India (0.26%), Banana of Nigeria content 0.83% fat 49,50 whereas banana of ours had 0.73% fat. The discrepancy of these nutrient contents may explain by the geographical differences and soil conditions. ...
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Antioxidant plays essential roles in the maintaining of good health. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of antioxidants. Antioxidant contents in fruits and vegetables could vary in geographical distribution and also in the same soil for different time intervals. Therefore, the present study aimed to analyze the total antioxidant status and proximate analysis of some selected locally available fruits and vegetables and they were Mangiferaindica, Musa acuminate, Psidium guajava, Carcia papaya, Lagenariasiceraria, Trichosanthesdioica, Momordica charantia, Basella alba, and Amaranthus gangeticus from three villages. In this analysis, total antioxidant status was determined by DPPH free radical scavenging assay, and proximate analysis of moisture, ash, fat (Soxhlet extraction method), and protein (Kjeldahl method with N × 6.25) were determined as the method outlined in AOAC (2005). Among the four fruits sample, Papaya hadthe highest moisture content (88.08%)but was lower in ash, protein, fat, and carbohydrate contents. Among the vegetables, Bottle gourd had the highest moisture content (94.14%).Regarding all samples, Red amaranth showed the highest ash (1.59%) and protein (4.32%) content. However, both Mango and Papaya showed the lowest protein content (0.70%). Fat content was low in Papaya and Bottle gourdwith 0.10% and 0.15% respectively. For the carbohydrates, Banana was the greatest source with 22.62%. Furthermore, among the fruits Guava had the highest total antioxidants activity of 70.90% and among vegetables, Bitter gourd had 45.47% which was the highest compared to other studiedvegetables. Whereas, Indian spinachhad the lowest antioxidants activity and the value was 28.60%. The above results indicate that the selected fruits contents higher levels of antioxidant activity compared to selected vegetables samples.
... Mitchikpe et al. (2008) 2. Djuikwo et al. (2011) 3. Stadlmayr et al. (2010) Fat: 1% 2, 3 AA: 59 to 407 mg/100 g 1,3 1. Wall (2006) 2. Ali, Devarajan, Waly, Essa, and Rahman (2011) 3. Stadlmayr et al. (2010) Fat: 0 to 1% 1,4 AA: 35 to 107 mg/100 g 3,4 1. Perpétuo and Salgado (2003) 2. Arscott, Howe, Davis, and Tanumihardjo (2010) 3. Mamiro et al. (2007) 4. Stadlmayr et al. (2010) Tamarindus indica (tamarind, fruit) Fat: 0 to 1% 3,4 AA: 10 to 36 4 1. Okello, Okullo, Eilu, Nyeko, and Obua (2017) 2. Djuikwo et al. (2011) 3. Garcia-Amezquita, Fat: 0 to 4 1,2 1. Stadlmayr et al. (2010) 2. Petropoulos, Fernandes, Barros, and Ferreira (2018) Solanum lycopersicum (tomato, peel) Fat: 0 to 1% 2,3 AA: 6 to 314 mg/100 g 2 1. Djuikwo et al. (2011) 2. Stadlmayr et al. (2010) 3. Guillermo et al. (2014) 4. USDA (2020) Flowers AA: 17 mg/100 g 3 1. ...
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Benzylglucosinolate was detected in all of the tissues of Carica papaya (pawpaw). No other glucosinolates were detected in any tissue of C. papaya. Previous suggestions that indolyl-3-methylglucosinolate might be present could not be confirmed. The highest concentrations of benzylglucosinolate were found in the youngest leaves, but the compound was also detected in leaf stalks, stem internodes and roots. The presence of benzylglucosinolate in shoots was developmentally regulated—high concentrations in young tissues, declining as they matured. The exception was the stem internodes which maintained relatively constant concentrations. Tap roots had higher glucosinolate content than young roots. Cyanide, specifically released from cyanogenic glucosides, was detected in leaves and roots of C. papaya. Cyanide was not detected in comparable glucosinolate-containing tissues from Brassica napus (oilseed rape). The cyanide concentrations were highest in the tap roots and young leaves of C. papaya, suggesting that cyanogenic glucoside accumulation was also developmentally regulated. NADPH-dependent l-phenylalanine monooxygenase activity was detected in leaves of C. papaya catalysing the oxidative decarboxylation of l-phenylalanine. This monooxygenase activity was restricted to leaves, and could not be detected in any other tissues. No other monooxygenase activities were detected, in any tissues, active with any of the amino acids tested. Activity was highest in the young leaves and declined as leaves expanded and matured. This enzyme was significantly inhibited by several cytochrome P450 inhibitors, and to a lesser extent by the flavoprotein-specific inhibitor diphenylene iodonium. No other aromatic amino acids tested were either substrates or inhibitors of this enzyme, suggesting a high degree of substrate specificity. Two other key enzymes involved in the metabolism of l-Phe and l-Phe-derived compounds, phenylalanine-ammonia lyase and peroxidase, were found to be similarly developmentally regulated in tissues of C. papaya. Activities were highest in young tissues and declined as the tissues matured.