Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Pineapple is cultivated for fruit, used fresh, canned, frozen, or made
into juices, syrups, or candied. Pineapple bran, the residue after juicing, is
high in vitamin A, and is used in livestock feed. From the juice may be
extracted citric acid, or on fermentation, alcohol. In the Philippines, a fine
quality cloth is made from leaf fibers. Commercial bromelain is generally
prepared from pineapple wastes. A mixture of several proteases, bromelain is
used in meat tenderizers, in chill-proofing beer, manufacturing precooked
cereals, in certain cosmetics, and in preparations to treat edema and
inflammation. Bromelain is nematicidal (Duke, 1984b).
According to Hartwell (19671971), the fruit, peel, or juice is used in
folk remedies for corns, tumors, and warts. Reported to be abortifacient,
cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, discutient, diuretic, ecbolic,
emmenagogue, estrogenic, hydragogue, intoxicant, laxative, parasiticide,
purgative, refrigerant, styptic, and vermifuge, pineapple is a folk remedy for
bladder ailments, hypochondria, scarlet fever, scurvy, sores, and sprains. An
antiedemic substance has been reported from the rhizome. Many real or imagined
pharmacological effects are attributed to bromelain: burn debridement,
antiinflammatory action, smooth muscle relaxation, stimulation of muscle
contractions, cancer prevention and remission (not recognized by NCI), ulcer
prevention, appetite inhibition, enhanced fat excretion, sinusitis relief.
According to Morton, bromelain is given as an antiinflammatory agent following
dental, gynecological, and general surgery, and to treat abscesses, contusions,
hematomas, sprains, and ulcerations.
Pineapple juice from unripe fruits acts as a violent purgative, and is also
anthelmintic and ecbolic. Ripe fruit juice is diuretic, but in large doses may
cause uterine contractions. Sweetened leaf decoction drunk for venereal
diseases. Juice of the leaves consumed for hiccoughs, vermifuge, and as
purgative. Juice of ripe fruit regarded also as antiscorbutic, cholagogic,
diaphoretic, refrigerant, and useful in jaundice. Young vegetative buds are
used for respiratory ailments among Choco children (Duke, 1984b).
Per 100 g, the fruit is reported to contain 4752 calories, 85.387.0 g
H2O, 0.40.7 g protein, 0.20.3 g fat, 11.613.7 g total carbohydrate, 0.40.5
g fiber, 0.30.4 g ash, 1718 mg Ca, 812 mg P, 0.5 mg Fe, 12 mg Na, 125146
mg K, 3242 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.060.08 mg thiamine, 0.03 0.04 mg
riboflavin, 0.20.3 mg niacin, and 1761(-96) mg ascorbic acid. Cultivars may
contain 15% citronic acid (wild forms up to 8.6%), ca 3.5% invert sugars, 7.5%
saccharose, approaching 15% at maturity. Also reported are vanillin,
methyln-propyl ketone, n-valerianic acid, isocapronic acid, acrylic acid,
L(-)-malic acid, b-methylthiopropionic acid methyl ester (and ethyl ester),
5-hydroxytryptamine, quinic acid-1,4-di-p-coumarin (my translation from List
and Horhammer, 19691979). The aromatics from the essential oils of the fruit
include methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, isobutanol, n-pentanol, ethyl acetate,
ethyl-n-butyrate, methylisovalerianate, methyl-n-capronate, methyl-n-caprylate,
n-amyl-n-capronate, ethyl lactate, methyl-b-methylthiolpropionate,
ethyl-b-methylthiolpropionate, and diacetyl, acetone, formaldehyde,
acetaldehyde, furfurol, and 5-hydroxy-2-methylfurfurol. Steriod fractions of
the lower leaves possess estrogenic activity.
Workers who cut up pineapples have their fingerprints almost completely
obliterated by pressure and the keratolytic effect of bromelain (calcium
oxalate crystals and citric acid were excluded as the cause). The recurved
hooks on the left margins can painfully injure one. Mitchell and Rook (1979)
also restated earlier work on "pineapple estate pyosis" occurring in workers
who gather the fruits, probably an acarus infestation with secondary bacterial
infection. Angular stomatitis can result from eating the fruit. Ethyl
acrylate, found in the fruits, produced sensitisation in 10 of 24 subjects "by
a maximisation test." Ethyl acrylate is used in creams, detergents, food,
lotions, perfumes, and soaps. In "therapeutic doses", bromelain may cause
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, and menorrhagia. Watt and
Breyer-Brandwijk (19691979) restate a report, unavailable to me, of unusual
toxic symptoms following ingestion of the fruit, heart failure with cyanosis
and ecchymoses, followed by collapse and coma and sometimes death (Duke,
Perennial, herbaceous, sometimes spinescent succulent, up to 1 m tall;
leaves long, sword-like, arranged in a tight spiral around a short stem, edges
very sharply dentate to nearly entire, often variegated, or red or brown
streaked; flowers purplish-blue, trimerous, progressive toward apex of stem,
with oldest flowers at base of inflorescence; fruit a composite of 100200
seedless fruits fused into a tight, compact unit, developing along axis of
stem, oval to cylindrical, yellowish to orange, often greenish; fruit
development requiring about 20 days (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the South American Center of Diversity, pineapple, or cvs
thereof, is reported to tolerate aluminum, drought, insects, laterite, low pH,
peat, slope, and virus (Duke, 1978). Some selection and improvements had been
done by the Indians in pre-Columbian times. All members of A. comosus
are cultigens with no wild ancestral forms. Triploid varieties are reported
from Brazil, Ecuador, and the West Indies. Numerous tetraploid are known with
larger fruits and longer maturing periods. New varieties are currently being
selected, one of importance is resistant to mealybug wilt incorporated into the
Cayenne variety. Varieties of A. comosus are self-incompatible, hence
seedless when self-pollinated. Seeds may be produced by artificial
cross-pollination. In its native areas, hummingbirds effect natural
cross-pollination. Hundreds of cvs have been developed, some of the presently
important cvs are,
'Cayenne or Smooth Cayenne'fruits 13502500 g,
cylindrical, flesh yellow, high acid and sugar content, has largest acreage in
cultivation, 90% of world's canned fruit comes from this variety. Grown
primarily in Hawaii, Australia, Philippines, and South Africa.
'Red Spanish'fruits 13502250 g, squarish, flesh pale yellow, fibrous, aromatic, acid
flavor, used for fresh and candied fruit industry. Grown in Florida, Mexico,
Puerto Rico, Cuba; a good shipper.
'Queen or Table Queen'9001350 g, flesh
rich yellow, mild flavor, crisp, low acid, popular as fresh fruit. Grown in
'Pernambuco'13501800 g, cylindrical, flesh yellow-white,
tender, juicy, mild, sweet flavor, popular as fresh fruit. Grown in northern
'Monte Lirio'Grown in Mexico and Central America for its fresh
'Sugarloaf'Fruit conical to globular, flesh yellow-white, rich,
sweet flavor, eaten fresh. Grown in Mexico and Cuba.
'Cabazoni' (Cabezona)22504500 g, flesh yellow-white, fairly good flavor. Grown in Puerto Rico.
Other varieties of local importance are: 'Abachi' (Abakka or Abacaxi), 'Monte
Lirio', 'Singapore Spanish', and 'Vermelho'. Cultivars with smooth-edged
leaves are desirable and frequently planted to make harvesting easier. x = 25;
2n = 50 (Reed, 1976).
Native to the American Tropics, the cultivated pineapples are grown
mainly between latitudes 24°N and 25°S, principally at lower altitudes,
in many countries where climatic conditions are favorable (Reed, 1976).
Ranging from Warm Temperate Moist (without frost) to Tropical Very Dry
to Wet Forest Life Zones, pineapple is reported to tolerate annual
precipitation of 6.0 to 41.0 dm (mean of 34 cases = 19.3), annual temperature
of 16.2 to 27.4°C (mean of 34 cases = 23.7), and pH of 3.5 to 8.0 (mean of
29 cases = 6.0) (Duke, 1978, 1979). Pineapples thrive in climates that are
uniformly warm. Leaf damage occurs at -2.2°C, and plants are killed at
lower temperatures. Prolonged exposure at 5°C results in internal
breakdown. Pineapples may be grown under a wide range of rainfall conditions,
from 60 cm to 254 cm, with 100150 cm being ideal. They are tolerant of a wide
range of soils providing they possess good drainage, soil aeration, and a low
percentage of lime. Sandy loam, mildly acid and of medium fertility, is best
For a pineapple plantation, soil should be thoroughly prepared,
fertilized, fumigated, and paper laid down. Propagation is vegetative by slips
from stalk under fruit, suckers from axils of leaves (these produce fruit more
quickly), crowns, the rosettes at apex of fruit, or ratoons, the growth from
underground stems. Remove the vegetative unit, allow to dry 1 or more weeks,
and plant through hole in paper. Plants are spaced 2545 cm apart in 0.6 m
rows. Use of tar-paper or black plastic strips helps to eliminate weeds,
conserve moisture, increase soil temperature and build up high nitrate in soil.
Fertilization is normally practiced, amounts depending on natural soil
fertility. Application of iron is necessary in areas of low pH (5.67). Since
pineapples flower erratically, forcing of flowers is a common practice. This
is done chemically by use of a plant hormone which induces flowering and
subsequent fruiting. A drop in temperature of about 10° during the winter
months probably initiates flowering (Reed, 1976).
First harvest occurs in 1222 months after planting. Production is
continuous in the tropics. In subtropics, harvest is usually during the summer
months. Plants bear for 35 years after which they should be replanted. Fruit
is picked ripened for best natural sugars; greener for shipping. Most
pineapple is canned, with only 8% being consumed fresh.
An average diploid pineapple weighs 2.25 kg. First year's harvest is
greatest, about 72 MT/ha, with yields less in succeeding years. Larger
cultivars yield more per hectare, depending on the variety. World production
at the present time is about 4 billion kg/yr. Largest producers are Hawaii,
Malaysia, Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Philippines, in that order. Lesser amounts
are produced by Taiwan, Republic of South Africa, and Puerto Rico. Hawaii
produces about 90% of the world's canned pineapple. The major importers are
United States (about 36.1 million kg/yr), Argentina, West Germany, United
Kingdom, and Canada. Main exporters of fresh pineapples are Mexico (about 44%
of world's market), Brazil, Cuba, and Republic of South Africa (Reed, 1976).
According to Gopalakrishnan and Kasturi (1980), "The production of
energy from biomass appears to be a better proposition, at least in the short
term, than the production of energy from geothermal, solar, wind, and similar
The pineapple industry has the potential to meet about 4% of Hawaii's energy
needs by supplying in excess of 138,000 MWh to the State's Utility Grid, over
and above its own use. Maui County, currently obtaining 30% of its needs from
bagasse, is likely to obtain another 40% of its energy from stack burning of
pineapple trash. Capital requirements for trash use are minor compared with
those of other energy sources, and the environmental impact is insignificant.
If such is true in one of the United States, clearly it should not be written
off as an energy resource in developing countries. Kohls (ca 1981) discusses
the potential of making medicinal alcohol from pineapple wastes in the Ivory
Coast, which imports 220,000 liters per year. Banana production around
d'Agboville is around 15,000 MT, of which 12,600 MT are exported, the remainder
(largely wasted) capable of yielding at least 40,000 liters medicinal alcohol.
Stewart et al (1979) estimate that pineapple would yield 71 liters alcohol per
ton at a raw material cost per liter of $1.76 compared to closer to $0.20 per
liter for cereal-derived alcohol and $0.15 to $0.20 per liter for gasoline.
Conversely, Marzola and Bartholomew (1979) "show ... that recoverable alcohol
from achievable commercial yields of pineapple can actually equal that of
sugarcane, with the pineapple crop requiring only a fraction of the water used
by sugarcane." But pineapple production in Hawaii requires monthly inputs of
14.5 MCal/ha for manual labor, 49.0 for machines, 542.6 for fuel, 338.9 for
fertilizers, and 18.9 for pesticides. Such pineapple, at age 654 days,
produced 790 kg/ha/mo sugar, while year old ratoons produced 1,150 kg sugar and
280 kg starch, comparing favorable with sugarcane monthly sugar production.
The pineapple slightly exceeded the sugarcane, which in turn exceeded cassava.
Marzola and Bartholomew (1979) concluded that the pineapple would yield 964
liters alcohol/ha/mo, cf 921 for sugarcane, and 611 for cassava. Air dried
pineapple plant residues are estimated to contain 3300 kcal/kg.
Many fungi attack the pineapple plant in different regions,
Aspergillus niger, Asterinella stuhlmanni, Beltrania indica, Botryodiploidia
ananassae, B. theobromae, Calothyriella ananassae, Ceratocystis paradoxs,
Ceratostomella paradoxa, Colletotrichum capsici, Corynespora cassiicola,
Curvularia lunata, C. maculans, Cyclodomus comosi, Dictyoarthrinium quadratum,
Fusarium moniliforme, and var. subglutinans, F. oxysporum, F. scirpi, F.
solani, Gliomastix luzulae, Hendersonula toruloides, Macrophomina phaseoli,
Marasmius palmivorus, M. sacchari, Nigrospora sphaerica, Paecilomyces elegans,
Peltaster intermedium, Penicillium funiculosum, P. vermiculatum, Periconia
minutissima, Pestalotia ananas, Phyllosticta ananassae, Phytophthora cinnamomi,
P. parasitica, P. palmivora, Pithomyces sacchari, Podoconium bakeri, Pythium
arrhenomanes, P. butleri, P. debaryanum, P. indigoferae, P. spinosum,
Spegazzinia tessarthra, Sporedesmium bakeri var. sacchari, Sporodum
atropurpureum, Stachybotrys parvispora, Stachylidium bicolor, Stibella
proliferans, Syncephalostratum racemosum, Thielaviopsis paradoxs (white
spot, soft rot, base rot), Tricobotrys pannosa, Walbrothielia bromeliae,
Zygosporium oscheoides, Hymenula affinis, Rhizopus stolonifer, Rhizidiocystis
ananasi, Trichoderma viride, and various wild yeasts. Pineapples are
attacked by a great variety of nematodes in different countries, many of the
specific records are from Nigeria, Thailand, Philippines, Malagasy, Taiwan, and
Bangladesh: Aphelenchoides sp. , Criconema octangulare, Criconemella
ferniae, C. ornata, C. onoense, C. peruensis, C. rusticum, Ditylenchus
destructor, Dorylaimus pacificus, Heliocotylenchus africanus, H. dihystera, H.
multicinctus, H. concavus, H. erythrinae, H. cavenessi, H. pseudorobustus, H.
pannus, Hemicriconemoides cocophilus, H. squamosus, Hemicycliophora
oostenbrinkii, Heterodera schachtii, Hoplolaimus pararobustus, H. seinhorsti,
Isolaimium stictachroum, Longidorus laevicapitatus, Macrolaimus natator,
Meloidogyne acronea, M. arenaria, M. hapla, M. incognita, M. incognita acrita,
M. javanica, M. sp., Mesotylus taomasinae, Nothocriconemella mutabilis,
Paratylenchus minutus, Pratylenchus brachyurus, P. coffeae, P. goodeyi, P.
penetrans, P. pratensis, P. scribneri, P. thorner, P. zeae, Radopholus similes,
Rotylenchus brevis, Rotylenchulus reniformus, Scutellonema bradys, S. unum,
Trichodorus porosus, Trilineelus triglyphus, Tylenchortiynchus acti, T.
annulatus, T. brevidens, T. claytoni, T. nudus, T. parvus, Xiphinema americana,
X. chambersi, X. ensiculiferum, X. insigne, and X. sp. Thecia
sp. larvae attack fruits. Tobacco thrips (Frankliniella insularis and
fusca) and Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) carry the virus of
Spotted Wilt and Yellow Spot; larvae must feed on diseased plants in nymphal
stage. White grubs are a problem in Puerto Rico, controlled by andrin.
Pineapple scale (Diaspis bromeliae) may be a problem in some areas.
Mealybug (Dysmicoccus brevipes) caused mealybug wilt, the most serious
disease of pineapple; but is ant attended, so using dieldrin to kill the ants
helps control the mealybug. All crowns, suckers and the like could be treated
with malathion or diazinon and let dry before planting (Reed, 1976).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 161. In: ASA
Special Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc.
Agron. Madison, WI.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Duke, J.A. 1984b. Borderline herbs. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.
- Gopalakrishnan, C and Kasturi, P. 1980. The economics of biomass energy: A
study of two agricultural wastes. Agricultural Wastes. 2:8391.
- Hartwell, J.L. 19671971. Plants used against cancer. A survey. Lloydia 3034.
- Kohls, D. ca 1981. Production dlethanol a partir de sous-produits vegetaux en
zone tropicale humide:cas de l'alcool medicinal a partir de dehectes d'ananas.
Entropie 98 (Valorisation Energ 1. p. 3738).
- List, P.H. and Horhammer, L. 19691979. Hager's handbuch der pharmazeutischen
praxis. vols 26. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
- Marzola, D.L. and Bartholomew, D.P. 1979. Photosynthetic pathway and biomass
energy production. Science 205:555559.
- Mitchell, J.C. and Rook, A. 1979. Botanical dermatology. Greenglass Ltd.,
- Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts
submitted to the USDA.
- Stewart, G.A., Gartside, G., Gifford, R.M., Nix, H.A., Rawlins, W.H.M., and
Siemon, J.R. 1979. The potential for liquid fuels from agriculture and forestry
in Australia. CSIRO. Alexander Bros., Mentone, Victoria, Australia.
- Watt, J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G. 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants
of southern and eastern Africa. 2nd ed. E.&S. Livingstone, Ltd., Edinburgh
Last update December 22, 1997