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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. × paradisi
Binomial name
Citrus × paradisi

The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree grown for its bitter fruit which was originally named the "forbidden fruit" of Barbados.[1]

These evergreen trees are usually found at around 5-6 m (16-19 feet) tall, although they can reach 13-15 m (43-49 feet). The leaves are dark green, long (up to 150 mm, or 6 inches) and thin. It produces 5 cm (2-inch) white four-petaled flowers. The fruit is yellow-orange skinned and largely oblate, and ranges in diameter from 10-15 cm. The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink and red pulps of varying sweetness. The 1929 US Ruby Red (of the Redblush variety) has the first grapefruit patent.[2]

A grapefruit from southern California

The fruit has only become popular from the late 19th century; before that it was only grown as an ornamental plant. The US quickly became a major producer of the fruit, with orchards in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. In Spanish, the fruit is known as toronja or pomelo.


[edit] History

The fruit was first documented in 1750 by the Rev. Griffith Hughes describing specimens from Barbados.[3] Currently, the grapefruit is said to be one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados."[4] It had developed as a hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus maxima) with the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), though it is closer to the former.[5] It was brought to Florida by Count Odette Philippe in 1823 in what is now known as Safety Harbor. Further crosses have produced the tangelo (1905), the minneola (1931), and the sweetie (1984). The sweetie has very small genetic and other differences from pomelo.

The grapefruit was known as the shaddock or shattuck until the 1800s, taking the name from Captain Shaddock, who introduced the pomelo to the Caribbean from Polynesia in the 17th century. Its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to grapes. Botanically, it was not distinguished from the pomelo until the 1830s, when it was given the name Citrus paradisi. Its true origins were not determined until the 1940s. This led to the official name being altered to Citrus × paradisi.[6][7]

The 1929 Ruby Red patent was associated with real commercial success, which came after the discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink variety. Only with Ruby Red the grapefruit transformed into a real agricultural fruit. The Red grapefruit, starting from the Ruby Red, has even become a symbol fruit of Texas, where white "inferior" grapefruit were eliminated and only red grapefruit were grown for decades. Using radiation to trigger mutations, new varieties were developed to retain the red tones which typically faded to pink,[8] with Rio Red is the current (2007) Texas grapefruit with registered trademarks Rio Star and Ruby-Sweet, also sometimes promoted as "Reddest" and "Texas Choice".

[edit] Production

Grapefruit and pomelo output in 2005

The United States of America is the top producer of grapefruit and pomelo followed by China and South Africa.

Top Ten Grapefruit (inc. pomelos) Producers — 11 June 2008
Country Production (Tonnes) Footnote
 United States 1580000
 People's Republic of China 547000 F
 South Africa 430000 F
 Mexico 390000 F
 Syria 290000 F
 Israel 245000 *
 Turkey 181923
 India 178000 F
 Argentina 176000 F
 Cuba 175000 F
 World 5061023 A
No symbol = official figure, P = official figure, F = FAO estimate, * = Unofficial/Semi-official/mirror data, C = Calculated figure A = Aggregate(may include official, semi-official or estimates);

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Devision

[edit] Colors and flavors

Grapefruit mercaptan
Yellow grapefruit

Grapefruit comes in many varieties, determinable by color, which is caused by the pigmentation of the fruit in respect of both its state of ripeness and genetic bent.[9] The most popular varieties cultivated today are red, white, and pink hues, referring to the inside, pulp color of the fruit. The family of flavors range from highly acidic and somewhat bitter to sweet and tart.[9] Grapefruit mercaptan, a sulfur-containing terpene, is one of the substances which has a strong influence on the taste and odor of grapefruit, compared with other citrus fruits.[10]

[edit] Drug interactions

Grapefruit can have a number of interactions with drugs, often increasing the effective potency of compounds. Grapefruit contains naringin, bergamottin and dihydroxybergamottin, which inhibit the protein isoform CYP3A4 predominately in the liver. It is via inhibition of this enzyme that grapefruit increases the effects of a variety of drugs.[11][12][13][14][15] The effect of grapefruit juice with regard to drug absorption was originally discovered in 1989. However, the effect became well-publicized after being responsible for a number of deaths due to overdosing on medication.[16]

Grapefruit juice may be the first documented, but apple and orange juices have been also implicated in interfering with etoposide, a chemotherapy drug, some beta blocker drugs used to treat high blood pressure, and cyclosporine, taken by transplant patients to prevent rejection of their new organs.[17]

[edit] Nutritional properties

Grapefruit, raw, white, all areas
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 30 kcal   140 kJ
Carbohydrates     8.41 g
- Sugars  7.31 g
- Dietary fiber  1.1 g  
Fat 0.10 g
Protein 0.69 g
Water 90.48 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1)  0.037 mg   3%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2)  0.020 mg   1%
Niacin (Vit. B3)  0.269 mg   2%
Pantothenic acid (B5)  0.283 mg  6%
Vitamin B6  0.043 mg 3%
Folate (Vit. B9)  10 μg  3%
Vitamin C  33.3 mg 56%
Calcium  12 mg 1%
Iron  0.06 mg 0%
Magnesium  9 mg 2% 
Phosphorus  8 mg 1%
Potassium  148 mg   3%
Zinc  0.07 mg 1%
Manganese 0.013 mg
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Grapefruit is an excellent source of many nutrients and phytochemicals, able to contribute to a healthy diet. Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C,[9][18] pectin fiber,[19] and the pink and red hues contain the beneficial antioxidant lycopene.[9][20] Studies have shown grapefruit helps lower cholesterol[9][21] and there is evidence that the seeds have high levels of antioxidant properties.[22] Grapefruit forms a core part of the "grapefruit diet", the theory being that the fruit's low glycemic index is able to help the body's metabolism burn fat.[23]

Grapefruit seed extract has been claimed to have strong antimicrobial properties, with proven activity against bacteria and fungi. However, no studies have demonstrated any efficacy by grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial for either bacteria or fungi. Additionally, although GSE is promoted as a highly effective plant-based preservative by some natural personal care manufacturers, studies have shown that the apparent antimicrobial activity associated with GSE preparations is merely due to contamination with synthetic preservatives.[24][25][26][27][28]

A 2007 study found a correlation between eating a quarter of grapefruit daily and a 30% increase in risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The study points to the inhibition of CYP3A4 enzyme by grapefruit, which metabolizes estrogen.[29] Howewer, there is a study showing that grapefruit consumption may not increase breast cancer risk. Furthermore, related studies showed a significant decrease in breast cancer risk with greater intake of grapefruit in women who never used hormone therapy.[30]

[edit] Grapefruit sweets

In Costa Rica, especially in Atenas, grapefruits are often cooked in a way that removes their sourness, and renders them as sweets; they are also stuffed with dulce de leche, resulting in a dessert called toronja rellena (stuffed grapefruit).

[edit] Other uses

Grapefruit peel oil is used in aromatherapy and it is historically known for its aroma.[31]

Grapefruit has also been investigated in cancer medicine pharmacodynamics. Although it inhibits the metabolism of some drugs, which is generally considered a bad thing, this allows some cancer drugs to be used at a lower dose, because of inhibited metabolism. This requires a smaller amount, which, in principle, can reduce the overall cost of an "effective" dose.[32]

It also eases constipation, as it causes loosening of the bowels and stimulates defecation (especially true for pink grapefruit). A grapefruit is cut in half, and the flesh can be sprinkled with a couple of teaspoons of 'household' sugar (optional), and left covered for an hour or two. The flesh is then eaten as normal.[33]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Dowling, Curtis F.; Morton, Julia Frances (1987). Fruits of warm climates. Miami, Fla: J.F. Morton. ISBN 0-9610184-1-0. OCLC 16947184. 
  2. ^ Texas grapefruit history, TexaSweet. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  3. ^ World Wide Words: Questions & Answers; Grapefruit. Abstract
  4. ^ Barbados Seven Wonders: The Grapefruit Tree. Abstract
  5. ^ Wainwright, Martin (2004-12-24). "Apple and grape give birth to Grapple". Guardian.,2763,1379547,00.html. Retrieved on 2007-05-29. "The process follows similar fruity "marriages", such as the accidental crossing of a pomelo fruit from the East Indies with a Jamaican orange in 1693, which gave the world the grapefruit." 
  6. ^ Texas Citrus: Puzzling Beginnings. Article
  7. ^ University of Florida: IFAS Extension; The Grapefruit. Fact SheetPDF
  8. ^ "Useful Mutants, Bred With Radiation". Retrieved on 2008-02-23. 
  9. ^ a b c d e The World's Healthiest Foods; Grapefruit. The George Mateljan Foundation. Article
  10. ^ A. Buettner, P. Schieberle (1999). "Characterization of the Most Odor-Active Volatiles in Fresh, Hand-Squeezed Juice of Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macfayden)". J. Agric. Food Chem. 47: 5189–5193. doi:10.1021/jf990071l. 
  11. ^ He K, Iyer KR, Hayes RN, Sinz MW, Woolf TF, Hollenberg PF (1998). "Inactivation of cytochrome P450 3A4 by bergamottin, a component of grapefruit juice". Chem. Res. Toxicol. 11 (4): 252–9. doi:10.1021/tx970192k. PMID 9548795. 
  12. ^ Bailey DG, Malcolm J, Arnold O, Spence JD (1998). "Grapefruit juice-drug interactions". Br J Clin Pharmacol 46 (2): 101–10. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2125.1998.00764.x. PMID 9723817. 
  13. ^ Garg SK, Kumar N, Bhargava VK, Prabhakar SK (1998). "Effect of grapefruit juice on carbamazepine bioavailability in patients with epilepsy". Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 64 (3): 286–8. doi:10.1016/S0009-9236(98)90177-1. PMID 9757152. 
  14. ^ Bailey DG, Dresser GK (2004). "Interactions between grapefruit juice and cardiovascular drugs". Am J Cardiovasc Drugs 4 (5): 281–97. doi:10.2165/00129784-200404050-00002. PMID 15449971. 
  15. ^ Bressler R (2006). "Grapefruit juice and drug interactions. Exploring mechanisms of this interaction and potential toxicity for certain drugs". Geriatrics 61 (11): 12–8. PMID 17112309. 
  16. ^ Bakalar, Nicholas. Experts Reveal the Secret Powers of Grapefruit Juice. New York Times. Published: March 21, 2006. Article
  17. ^ BBC News:Fruit juice 'could affect drugs'
  18. ^ Fellers PJ, Nikdel S, Lee HS. Nutrient content and nutrition labeling of several processed Florida citrus juice products. J Am Diet Assoc. 1990 Aug;90(8):1079-84. Abstract
  19. ^ Cerda JJ, Robbins FL, Burgin CW, Baumgartner TG, Rice RW. The effects of grapefruit pectin on patients at risk for coronary heart disease without altering diet or lifestyle. Clin Cardiol. 1988 Sep;11(9):589-94. Abstract
  20. ^ Lee HS. Objective measurement of red grapefruit juice color. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 May;48(5):1507-11. Abstract
  21. ^ Platt R. Current concepts in optimum nutrition for cardiovascular disease. Prev Cardiol. 2000 Spring;3(2):83-87. Abstract
  22. ^ Armando, C., Maythe, S., Beatriz, N. P. Antioxidant activity of grapefruit seed extract on vegetable oils. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 1997 Dec;77(4):463-467. Abstract
  23. ^ WMUR Ch. 9: New Hampshire news, weather, sports and entertainment. Researchers Put Grapefruit Diet To Test: Grapefruit Compound Lowers Cholesterol, Helps Regulate Insulin. June 11, 2003. Article
  24. ^ Sakamoto S, Sato K, Maitani T, Yamada T. Analysis of components in natural food additive "grapefruit seed extract" by HPLC and LC/MS. Bull. Natl. Inst. Health Sci. 1996, 114:38–42. Abstract
  25. ^ von Woedtke T, Schluter B, Pflegel P, Lindequist U, Julich WD. Aspects of the antimicrobial efficacy of grapefruit seed extract and its relation to preservative substances contained. Pharmazie 1999 54:452–456. Abstract
  26. ^ Takeoka G, Dao L, Wong RY, Lundin R, Mahoney N. Identification of benzethonium chloride in commercial grapefruit seed extracts. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 49(7):3316–20. Abstract
  27. ^ Takeoka GR, Dao LT, Wong RY, Harden LA. Identification of benzalkonium chloride in commercial grapefruit seed extracts. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 53(19):7630–6. Abstract
  28. ^ Ganzera M, Aberham A, Stuppner H. Development and validation of an HPLC/UV/MS method for simultaneous determination of 18 preservatives in grapefruit seed extract. Institute of Pharmacy, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):3768-72. Abstract
  29. ^ Monroe, KR; Murphy SP, Kolonel LN, & Pike MC (2007). "Prospective study of grapefruit intake and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: the Multiethnic Cohort Study". British Journal of Cancer 97: 440. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603880. PMID 17622247.  (E-published before print; news article)
  30. ^ Monroe, KR; Murphy SP, Kolonel LN, & Pike MC (2007). "A prospective study of grapefruit and grapefruit juice intake and breast cancer risk". British Journal of Cancer 98: 240. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6604105.  [1]PDF (51.6 KB)
  31. ^ Ann Worwood, Valerie. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Paperback). New World Library 1991. ISBN 0-93143-282-0
  32. ^
  33. ^

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