Byproducts

Portions of the pineapple plant and processing wastes, in the form of shell and core materials, and centrifuged solids from juice production have been evaluated and used as animal feeds (Wayman et al., 1976; Olbrich and Al, 1977; Stanley and Ishizaki, 1979). In many countries, feed tolerances must be established for pesticides used during production in order for by-products to be used as animal feeds. The requirements for tolerances affect the economic viability of byproduct use for feeds, even though a disposal cost exists for cannery wastes. Additionally, because of the low nutrient values of pineapple by-products, animal weight gains may not be economical when higher-quality feeds are available.

Pineapple fibre is considered to be more delicate in texture than any other vegetal fibre. About 60 cm long, white and creamy and lustrous as silk, it easily takes and retains dyes. Numerous tests in Brazil, Florida, India and the Philippines have shown its exceptional resistance to salt, vapour and traction (Correa, 1926; Montinola, 1991). However, while small cottage industries exist for speciality uses of pineapple fibre from particular cultivars, numerous attempts at commercial production as a subproduct of the fruit industry have failed. In fact, fibre quality and yield are highly dependent on the cultivar, and those of 'Smooth Cayenne' are among the weakest. In addition, cultural practices for fruit production have detrimental effects on fibre characteristics. Pineapple fibre has also been processed into paper, which shows remarkable thinness, smoothness and pliability (Collins, 1960; Montinola, 1991). Recent studies have resulted in several patents on paper production and the development of low-density polyethylene composites (Fujishige et al., 1977; Fujishige and Tsuboi, 1978; George et al, 1993, 1995).

Bromelain was originally only extracted from Hawaiian pineapple stems but now is manufactured in Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil and Puerto Rico. The variability in the commercially produced product and its multiple ingredients have limited successful development. Pineapple bromelain has been used commercially as a meat-tenderizing enzyme and as a nutraceutical. Attempts have been made to develop bromelain for pharmaceutical use. The complexity of the active components of bromelain has limited pharmaceutical research. Bromelain has shown the following activity: (i) interference with the growth of malignant cells; (ii) inhibition of platelet aggregation; (iii) fibrinolytic action; (iv) anti-inflammatory processes; and (v) skin debridement (Lotz-Winter, 1990). These biological properties of bromelain have potential therapeutic activity in: (i) tumour growth; (ii) blood coagulation; (iii) inflammatory changes; (iv) debridement of severe burns; and (v) enhancement of drug absorption (Taussig and Batkin, 1988).

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