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Kokam and cambodge - Functional properties


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Kokam and cambodge


Kokam (Garcinia indica Choisy) is a slender evergreen small tree with drooping branches which attain a pyramidal shape on maturity. It is a dioecious tree growing up to

m in height. The fruit is spherical, as large as a small orange, purple throughout, not grooved, having 8 seeds compressed in an acid pulp. It is a crop of oriental origin preferring warm and moderately humid tropical climate with a total rainfall range of

mm. It grows under a mean annual temperature of 20–30sC, 60–80% humidity and up to an altitude of 0 m from mean sea level. Kokam plants originate and grow wild in the tropical forests of Western Ghats of India. It prefers partial shade, and is more associated with fire protected secondary forests. Extreme acidity is harmful to the crop. The tree grows extensively in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Goa, coastal areas of Karnataka and Kerala, evergreen forests of Assam, Khasi, Jantia hills, West Bengal and Gujarat. It is a popular tree spice having tremendous potential and in South Indian curries, it is used instead of tamarind, and also has many medicinal properties. The juice of the fruit is used as a mordant and the expressed oil of the seed is the kokam oil of the natives, extensively used to adulterate ghee. The seeds of the fruit yield valuable edible fat known in commerce as kokam butter

Cambodge (Garcinia cambogia Desr.) is a tropical fruit commonly known as Malabar tamarind and belongs to the family Clusiaceae4 earlier known as Guttiferae.5 It is a medium-sized evergreen dioecious tree with rounded crown and horizontal or drooping branches generally attaining a height of 8 m. The fruit is a berry having the size of a small apple, yellow or red, 8 grooves forming blunt lobes with tough rind, 8 seeds and succulent aril.6 The fruits may vary in size weighing 0 g. It is a native of Western Ghats of Kerala (India) and Malaysia. It grows in the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in South India and its habitat extends from Konkan southward to Travancore and into the Shola forest of Nilgiris where it can reach an altitude of up to

0 m above mean sea level. In Kerala, it is very popular in the Central Travancore areas and Kerala seems to be one of the centres of origin of cambodges where maximum diversity is seen.7 It is fairly common and abundant in the forests of western Sri Lanka

from sea level to 0 m and in Malaysia. It is widely distributed in the evergreen forests of Western Ghats from South Kanara and Mysore to South Kerala up to the low lying reclaimed lands bordering the backwaters. The plant flowers in the hot season and the fruits ripen in the rains. Cambodge fruit has excellent therapeutic value and the dried rind is a popular fruit spice used in cookery as an important ingredient in many dishes for flavouring curries in place of tamarind or lime.

Chemical structure Kokam contains about % malic acid and a little tartaric and citric acid. Composition of fresh kokam rind is as follows (as reported by Sampathu and Krishnamurthy

moisture )

protein ) N 5)

crude fibre )

total ash )

tannins )

pectin )

starch )

crude fat )

pigment )

ascorbic acid )

(hexane extract

acid (as hydroxy citric acid)

pigment )

ascorbic acid )

carbohydrates by difference )

(Values are expressed on moisture-free basis.)

Cambodge rind is rich in non-volatile acids. 2 The fruit rind which is of commercial value contains % acid (citric acid) on the dry basis and it is essentially (-)-hydroxycitric acid. The dried rind also contains % tartaric acid, % reducing sugars and phosphoric acid. 4 Of the total acids present in the rind, nearly % is non-volatile. Sherly reported that the rind of G. cambogia had an average of % acidity, 2 mg/

0 g ascorbic acid, s brix T.S.S and % reducing sugar. Mucilage around the seed contains % reducing sugar and % acidity and on average, a loss of % weight was recorded on drying.

The rind of garcinia fruits such as kokam and cambodge are the richest sources of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has an excellent therapeutic value against obesity. Earlier the acid present in the rind was misidentified as citric acid. Later Lewis and Neelakantan isolated the acid and identified it as hydroxycitric acid, which is present in the isomeric form. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid is valued for its taste characteristics and health benefits. The isolated HCA is unstable leading to formation of (-)hydroxycitric acid lactone (HCAL) and organic acids in the garcinia fruits and garcinia products (extracts and salt derivatives) co-occur. The structures of HCA and HCAL are shown in Fig. 1. The sour taste components are due to HCA present in the range of % in the rinds. HCA and HCAL co-occur in fruits and extracts and HCA is rapidly converted into lactone during the concentration process Varying amounts of citric acid ) are present in the fruit and in the products. The total acids expressed as HCA in the fruits

Fig 1 Structure of (a) (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and (b) (-)hydroxycitric acid lactone


ranged from 9 to % and HCAL content ranged from 9 to 12%. HCAL can be converted to HCA by the addition of NaOH and heating.

Kokam butter is rich in combined stearic and oleic acids. It contains about % of mono-oleodisaturated glycerides and possesses a fairly low melting point and considerable brittleness. The chemical characteristics of the fat are:

melting point 3sC

sap value

iodine value 3

unsap matter )

free fatty acids as ) as oleic

The component fatty acids percent by weight are:

myristic 0 to

palmitic 2.5 to 5.3

oleic 4 to

linoleic 1.7

The seed cake after the extraction of oil contained crude protein %, crude fibre

, ether extract , nitrogen-free extract % and ash

The seeds of cambodge yield % of edible fat, resembling kokam butter, and are rich in oleic and stearic acid. The fat has a granular structure and the following properties:

melting point 29.5sC

acid value

sap value

acet value nil

iodine value

R.M. value

unsap matter )

titre 51.2s


India is the major producer of kokam and cambodge. The important producing areas for kokam in India are Western Ghats, Coorg, Wynad and Ratnagiri. It is estimated that in the Konkan region alone about 0 tonnes are produced. 1 Western Ghats region contains about 5 lakh trees and the estimated yield is 0 bags each with 0 seers of seeds. Kokam is exported mainly in the forms of fruit, oil (kokam butter) and syrup. Indian kokam is popular in several countries like UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Zanzibar is the main importer of kokam from India. It is also reported that Italy and some other foreign countries are importing kokam fat from India for use in confectionery preparations. In the case of cambodge, sizeable quantities are exported from parts of South India (particularly Alleppy in Kerala State) to meet the demands of Bombay (presently known as Mumbai) and Gujarat markets; it offers bright prospects for expansion of the market in North India.


The kokam fruit has an agreeable flavour and sweetish acid taste. The normal shelf-life of the fresh fruit is about five days. Hence sun drying is practised for preservation. For sun drying the fresh fruits are cut into halves and the fleshy portion containing the seed is removed. The rind, which constitutes % of the whole fruit, is repeatedly soaked in the juice of the pulp during sun drying. About 8 days are required for complete drying. The product so dried constitutes the unsalted kokam of commerce. A salted variety wherein common salt is used during soaking and drying of the rind is also marketed.

Lonaval kokam, Pakali kokam, Khanee kokam and Khoba kokam are a few of the trade varieties. The seed contains about % fat and is extracted by one of several methods

boiling, cold extraction/churning of the powdered seeds by water or simple extraction:

Boiling process: The seed is cracked and the shell removed. The white kernel is then pounded in a large specially-made stone mortar and pestle. The pulp is put into an earthen or iron pan with some water and boiled. After some time it is poured into another vessel and allowed to cool. The oil which rises to the surface on cooling becomes gradually solid, and is strongly moulded by hand into egg-shaped balls or concavo-convex cakes

Cold extraction/churning process: The kernel is pounded as above and the pulp with some water is kept in a large vessel and allowed to settle for the night. During the night the oil rises to the surface and forms a white layer, which is removed in the morning. The mixture is then churned, and the oil which, like butter, rises to the surface in a solid form, is removed by hand. This process gives the best product and is most favourably performed in the cold season.

Simple extraction: In this process, the kernels are pressed in an ordinary oil mill, like other oil seeds, and the oil is extracted.

Extraction is mostly on a cottage industry basis by crushing the kernels, boiling the pulp in water and skimming off the fat from the top; or by churning the crushed pulp with water. Nowadays it is obtained by solvent extraction also. After extraction the crude kokam butter is sold as egg-shaped lumps, having a characteristic yellowish colour and greasy in nature. It also has a faint but not disagreeable odour. Refined and deodorized fat is white in colour and compares favourably with high-class hydrogenated fat. It is readily soluble in ether and slightly in rectified spirits, more in hot than in cold.


Harvesting of cambodge coincides with the monsoon in South India. The fruits are harvested at ripening stage for getting good quality rind. Ripening takes five months from flowering. On abscission, the fruits are collected, then seeds and rinds are separated. A good percentage of fruits are wasted due to lack of proper processing and preservation technologies in the humid areas.

The rind is detached from the kernel of under-ripe fruits, cut into half or sectioned into thicknesses varying inversely with the humidity of the weather. These are then spread in thin layers and dried in the sun for three to seven days to a moisture level of 5 to 0% and smoked. Rinds are dried until they attain a coal black colour and characteristic acid taste. In Kerala mainly three types of drying procedures are practised. They are sun drying, smoke drying and alternately under sun and smoke:

Sun drying: In this method under-ripe fruits are harvested and the rind is detached. After removing the succulent aril and seeds, the fruit is cut into two equal halves. The rind is spread on a specially prepared floor or mat. If there is sufficient sunlight it takes six to seven days for complete removal of moisture and the rind attains a coal black colour. In some places the rind is hanged in the midrib of coconut leaves, the ends of which are tied to poles or trees. As the rind hangs on the midrib all parts get uniform heat. Cambodge dried by this method is considered to be the best by the locals. This method is followed in Thodupuzha and Vazhakulam areas of Kerala.

Smoke drying: Since the harvest coincides with the monsoon, enough sunlight is not available for drying. In these conditions, after removal of seeds, the rinds are smoked on lofts above the fireplace. The rind gets dried by the heat and smoke from the hearth. It takes one week or more for complete drying. When large quantities are to be dried, lofts are prepared in such a way that heat is distributed uniformly on the platform. Coconut husk, shell and other wooden logs are used for burning. Along with this, fresh Eupatorium and Loranthus are used and by the slow burning of these, the rind is dried. This practice is followed in Parur, Kodungallur, Thiruvalla and Vazhakulam areas of Kerala.

Sun and smoke: When there is no rain the rinds are dried under the sun and during the night smoke drying is practised. The dried rinds are preserved by rubbing with 0 ml of coconut oil and 0 g of common salt (sodium chloride) per kilogram of rind for storing for long periods. In some areas turmeric powder is also used.

Commercially, cambodge concentrate is synthesized from the dried rind of cambodge largely capturing the flavour profile of the dried rind, which is used for preparing a variety of HCA products. The procedure is to extract the acid from the dry fruit rind by washing with water and to hydrolyse this extract by refluxing with alkali to convert any lactone present back into the acid. This is followed by precipitation with calcium chloride and drying. A properly prepared (-)HCA salt will be more stable and effective than the liquid form.

Main uses in food processing


The kokam rind is the richest source of natural red pigment anthocyanin, which has great market potential in developed countries.2 Kokam rind contains two to three per cent anthocyanin pigments and is a promising source of natural colourant for acid foods.

Cyanidin-3-sambudioside and cyanidin-3-glucoside are the major pigments present in the ratio . A new fat-soluble yellow pigment, namely garcinol, has been isolated from the fruit rind.

Kokam fruit serves as a flavouring substitute and also used as acidulant in certain foods. It is a good source of acid and contains a substantial amount of malic acid (10%) and a little tartaric acid and citric acid. The ripened rind and juice of kokam fruit are commonly used in cooking for preparing ‘Soikadi , a popular everyday food for each household in Konkan region. Kokam syrup has potential demand in the market. The dried and salted rind (amsol) is being used as a condiment in curries. It is used as a garnish to give an acid flavour to curries and also for preparing attractive red pleasant flavoured cooling syrups for use during hot months.

The seed contains about 2 to % fat having food and non-food applications. Kokam butter is mainly used as an edible fat. It is also used as an adulterant of ghee. Kokam fat remains solidified at room temperature. It is edible, nutritive, demulcent, astringent and emollient. 0 It is also used as confectionery butter, and also for candle and soap manufacture. It can be used for the production of stearic acid from the fat with a yield of

. It can also be employed in the sizing of cotton yarn. The cake left after the extraction of oil is used as manure. The barks of the trees are astringent and are kept and brought overseas to make vinegar.8 The juice of the fruit is used by blacksmiths for melting iron and wood is well suited for paper making. Young leaf is acid and used in Amboyana in cooking fish.


The dried rind is used as a condiment for flavouring curries in place of tamarind and lime. In Sri Lanka, the dried rind with salt is used for curing fish. The cured fish does not require prolonged washing prior to use. 4 The fruits are characterized by a sharp pleasant acidity. Though it is not eaten raw, it is included in curries as an appetizer in East India. The processed and dried pericarp is of great value for its delicate taste and flavour. The dried slices of this fruit, when used in place of tamarind in the preparation of fish and non-vegetarian curries is supposed to impart a special flavour and taste. The dried rind with its rich acidity possesses marked antiseptic properties and it also counteracts the tang of salt. It is also employed in veterinary medicine as a rinse for diseases of mouth in cattle. The dried rind is also used for polishing gold and silver. It is also a substitute for acetic and formic acids in the coagulation of rubber latex. The wood is used for posts and is suitable for matchboxes and splints. A translucent yellow resin obtained from the tree has purgative properties and is soluble in turpentine and makes a good varnish. 9 The yield of ordinary cambodge in colouring resin varies from 0 to . Cambodge is used as a pigment in the manufacture of lacquer and in medicine.

Functional properties

Garcinia fruit such as kokam and cambodge contains )hydroxycitric acid chemically similar to the citric acid found in oranges. One of the factors for fat accumulation in the body is increased quantities of the key enzyme known as ATP citrate lyase which facilitates the process of conversion of carbohydrates and sugar into fats and cholesterol. The fruit extract of Garcinia cambogia (containing % HCA as the chief ingredient) competitively blocks ATP citrate lyase enzyme making it ineffective which in turn

hinders the production and storage of body fats. By inhibiting this enzyme the fruit extract shifts the conversion of calories from fat to glycogen. This increased production of glycogen stimulates the glucoreceptors in the liver and sends satiety signals to the brain. Thus appetite and food craving are suppressed. Besides promoting glycogen production it also signals the Kreb’s cycle to initiate beta oxidation which burns the body’s stored fat. Thus the fruit extract containing highest concentrations of HCA promotes weight loss and assists the body’s natural cycles in proper metabolism of fats.

Research on hydroxycitric acid shows three benefits that should be of great interest to anyone concerned with weight management. It:

decreases appetite

inhibits the conversion of excess carbohydrates into fat

increases stores of the body’s energy fuel (glucose). Extract containing HCA has proven its strength to reduce fat synthesis in the body from

to . Garcinia fruit lowers blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides by triggering fatty acid oxidation in the liver via thermogenesis (raising body temperature to speed up the body’s metabolism which increases burning of fats). It burns the fat slowly and gently without stimulating the central nervous system. It also blocks the enzymes responsible for storing fat in our body from glucose. It mobilizes the body’s fat stores and dissolves fat in the liver and throughout the body. It paves the way for slower weight loss and supports the body’s natural appetite suppression mechanism. In addition it promotes the growth of lean muscles and also it is safe for diabetics. The extract from the rind forms a major ingredient in herbal medicines A variety of HCA products both in liquid form and salt of acid form is available in the market. ‘Citrinand ‘Nature’s Ownare popular products, which consists of calcium salt of (-)HCA and the recommended dosage is 0 to 0 mg after meals, three times a day. Among the gum resins cambodge, may be mentioned as containing , and -garcinolic acids. An essential oil was found to consist of terpene and camphor.

The kokam fruit is used in the Ayurveda system of medicine. The syrup prepared from the fruit is used in bilious infection. 1 The oil of the seed is much used for the preparation of ointments, suppositories and for other pharmaceutical purposes. It has been used as a local application to ulcerations, fissures of the lips, hands, etc., by partly melting it and rubbing on the affected part. Oil from seeds is used as a remedy in

‘Phthisis–Pulmonalis’, scrofulous diseases, dysentery, mucous diarrhoea and as a substitute for spermaceti. 9 The oil is used as a healing application and from its powerfully absorbing heat it might be usefully employed in such wounds or sores as are accompanied with inflammation. The bark and root is astringent and the young leaves are used as a remedy for dysentery.

Quality issues Cambogin, a toxic resin, has been obtained from Garcinia.31 This requires further investigation. The structure of cambogin has been given by Rastogi and Mehrotra (Fig.

2). Muthulakshmi7 compared the different methods of drying, viz. smoke drying, sun drying and oven drying. It was found that smoke drying recorded maximum rind recovery

(24.3%), highest total acidity (21.33%) and (-)-HCA content (90%). The rind obtained by this method was soft, flexible and dark black in colour. The rind was superior in appearance and retained the original shape of the rind. By sun drying the rind recovery was


intermediate in texture with pale brown colour and shape retention was also intermediate. Oven drying recorded minimum values for rind recovery (21.59%), total acidity 19.72%,

(-)HCA content 17.1%, rind texture was hard and brittle with brown colour. By oven drying the rind could not retain the rind shape and showed shrunken appearance.


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