Table of Contents
Serudin, Hj. D.S. and Hj. Tinggal. 1993. Garcinia hombrioniana: A
potential fruit and an industrial crop. p. 472-474. In: J. Janick and J.E.
Simon (eds.), New crops. Wiley, New York.
Garcinia hombrioniana: A Potential Fruit and an Industrial Crop
Hj. Serudin D.S. Hj. Tinggal*
- FUTURE PROSPECTS
- Fig. 1
- Fig. 2
- Fig. 3
- Fig. 4
Southeast Asia is regarded as a major center of origin and evolution of many
cultivated crops particularly tropical fruits. A great variety of fruits, some
wild, others cultivated are located in Brunei. Species of Artocarpus,
Durio, Garcinia, Mangifera, Musa, and Nephelium, to mention only
a few, occur as scattered species amidst forest trees or growing alongside
homes, in backyards or mixed orchards. These indigenous species together with
introduced cultivars represent invaluable genetic resources waiting to be
collected, identified, and tested for commercial development.
One of these potential new fruit crops is Garcinia hombrioniana Pierre,
locally called Assam Aur Aur, a close relative of the mangosteen, G.
mangostana L. The attractive fruit contains white segmented luscious pulp,
sweet with a pleasing fragrance similar to apricot (Fig. 1). The pulp has many
uses. The dried crimson rind of the fruit for example, is commercially
important and used extensively as sour relish in curries and culinary dishes
requiring an acidulous base. Demand for this condiment is seemingly
unsatisfiable and at every fruit season, housewives gather the fruits, remove
the pulp, and sun-dry the rind (Fig. 2). The market price is attractive and
keeping quality for properly dried pulp is good.
Assam Aur Aur is native to the Brunei Bay region of the states of Sabah and
Sarawak of Malaysia and Brunei. The tree probably originated in the
rainforests and was cultivated in the coastal and riverine regions to serve the
culinary uses of the early settlers. Currently, the distribution is still
restricted to the riverine and coastal alluvial regions. Some trees are found
in the interior settlements, probably introduced, as coastal and riverine
dwellers moved to settle inland. The fruit has never achieved the importance
of mangosteen and early explorers and naturalists have largely neglected the
small fruit for the larger, sweeter mangosteen.
Assam Aur Aur is a handsome evergreen closely resembling the mangosteen in
shape and canopy structure, except that Assam Aur Aur has smaller, more
elliptical leaves. Mature trees can reach 10 m in height with numerous
radially arranged spreading branches. Much of the leaves are held by tertiary
branches. Inflorescence are borne on these branchlets in clusters of not more
than five small flowers. Very little is known about the morphology of the
flowers and owing to the smallness and almost fused structures, the flowers
have received very little attention. It is likely that the flowers are
hermaphroditic and the few seeds produced apomictic. Seedlings derived from
seeds are always identical to the mother plant; there is no known genetic
variation. Subtle differences in size (3 to 5 cm in diameter) and shape of
fruits could be attributed to environmental influence. The population is
generally homogeneous making selection for superior types difficult. However,
this homogeneous attribute can be advantageous as fruit and fruit products
derived from the fruits are fairly uniform.
Assam Aur Aur is a tropical species requiring humid conditions of uniform
annual rainfall exceeding 2,000 mm and mean temperature of 27°C. The tree
shows a wide range of soil adaptability and will grow on damp alluvial soil as
well as free draining upland soils. However, the preference is for
well-drained fertile alluvial soil where water is not limiting.
Seeds, with the pulp removed, germinate within one week and can be shown direct
into plastic bags. Early growth requires protection from full sunlight; 50%
shading is recommended and progressively removed to harden the seedlings for
field planing when 6 to 8 months old.
There is no commercial planting of Assam Aur Aur to provide cultural
recommendations. However, based on observations and experiences, trees grow
best at 5 m spacing. Nurse shade between 50 to 60% is essential at planting.
Growth is rapid. Prunning of lower branches, weeding, and fertilization will
bring the trees to bear after four years. Recommended fertilizers consist of
NPK (12-5-14) to enhance fruiting. Mulching with dry litter will help to
retain soil moisture and prevent erosion which appears to be essential for
healthy growth of the plant.
As long as the trees are healthy, problems of diseases appear minimal.
However, ripe fruits are susceptible to infection by fruit flies (Dacus
spp) causing damage to the pulp. The rind is unaffected and can still be
processed into condiments. Fruit fly damage is more prevalent when few fruits
are in season. Spraying with insecticides may reduce the damage, but,
generally control of fruit fly is difficult in the tropics.
Bruneians, for centuries, have found many uses for the fruits. The young
fruits that drop to the ground are collected and sliced into thin pieces or
chunks and sun-dried. The final product is a fig brown condiment ready to give
the needed tang to Brunei dishes. Currently, there is a limited amount in the
market. The mature fruit has multiple uses with a fragrance reminiscent of
apricot. Early Bruneians fermented the pulp into organic vinegar. The flavor
is distinct, fruity, and strong. In recent years, efforts of the Department of
Agriculture have produced suitable cordials and jams from the pulp (Fig. 3).
The quality of the cordial is still questionable but the jams have penetrated a
limited market. Research is still in progress.
The greatest commercial value of the fruit is the crimson rind. Dried in the
sun, the shiny rind turns dull mauve in the process. Packed into small plastic
bags, the rind is ready for sale as an essential ingredient for many Brunei
dishes. The best condiment exudes some oil when pressed between fingers and
quality rind, properly dried, will eventually turn black without being moldy
(Fig. 4). Dark colored rind does not affect the culinary quality.
Assam Aur Aur has tremendous opportunity as a specially fruit. Strong
promotional support will strengthen marketing. The research programs of the
Department of Agriculture can explore postharvest and handling technology to
establish quality and standards. However, it is the inherent quality of fruit
that will attract connoisseurs. The strategy is to introduce this fruit into
Another area of interest is the acidulous quality of the rind. It is already
in great demand. Opportunity exists for more systematic and scientific
approach to rind processing, packaging, and marketing. Greater efforts will be
required to evaluate value-added products such as jams, juices, and food
*There is no known published data on Assam Aur Aur. The information presented
has been collected by the author during various field trips to the countryside
and discussion with farmers and their families. Officers of the Department of
Agriculture provided valuable information on its culture and food processing.
Fig. 1. Close up of the savory Assam Aur Aur fruit.
Fig. 2. Sun-drying of Assam Aur Aur rind with the pulp removed.
Fig. 3. Assam Aur Aur conserve produced by the Department of Agriculture, Brunei.
Fig. 4. Dried rind of Assam Aur Aur used as sour relish (left: freshly
dried; right: after six months storage).
Last update September 15, 1997