Nutritional Importance of Citrus

Nutritional Importance of Citrus: Citrus is a very valuable plant with a diverse group of species and its fruit is liked all around the world. Pakistan is a big producer of citrus, especially kinnow. Every kind of age peoples are like its fruit variety and use fresh and in processing industry mainly as juice.

H. M. Bilal, Mujahid Ali, Rohoma Tahir
2018-07-28 Department of Horticulture, UOS

Botanically citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the family Rutaceae. Plants in this genus produce citrus fruits including vital types of crops such as lime, lemon, kinnow (mandarins), grapefruit, poemlo, oranges (blood red) etc.

Citrus plants are native to subtropical and tropical regions of Asia and the Malay Archipelago and they were first domesticated in these areas.

Citrus are basically large, fleshy, juicy, acidic, and good source of vitamin C. Moreover, citrus does not only contain a large amount of vitamin C but also a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin A, and potassium. Citrus has become an important agricultural product in the Mediterranean Sea, Mexico, and South America. Citrus also contains ascorbic acid which is considered good food for health. One of the best characteristics of the citrus that it has been considered best choices for weight loss program. Generally, citrus fruits are incredible fruits that add additional value to a nutritious diet. Citrus fruits are value able fruits, so we can consume it to overcome micronutrient deficiencies because most people are suffering from obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Firstly, the citrus fruits wastage was ponded or flushed into the stream, lakes etc. but now the waste is converted into the useful product such as pectin manufacturing, extraction of oil, dried pulp etc. Hence the citrus has been ranked the 2nd worldwide first in Pakistan W.R.T. to its area and production among fruits. Citrus fruits have been long valued for a nutritious diet. The main energy nutrient in citrus is carbohydrate. Fructose, Glucose etc. Citrus fruits contain non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), which is complex with important health benefits. In the body, this polysaccharide holds water-soluble nutrient in a gel which delays emptying and slow digestion and absorption. Potassium also works to maintain the body`s water and acid balance. Some of the nutritional facts about citrus are such as the weight of orange is about (131g), Energy (62kcal), Fiber content (3.1g), Ascorbic acid (70 mg), Folate (40 mcg), Potassium (237). Citrus food may help to reduce the risk of several diseases and disorder such as heart diseases, stroke, cancer, and anemia. Citrus is a good source of fiber, so women should consume of fiber (25 gram) per day and tangerine (1.6 gram) per day. Citrus fruits are hydrating as they contain high water content. Citrus also contains flavonoid plant compound that may promote health. Citrus fruits are used in fruit industry mainly as a gelling agent, thickening agent, and stabilizer. As medicinal values citrus fruits have great importance i.e. against constipation. Diarrhea, Anti-stress, Gastrointestinal problems. Also, in cosmetics products i.e. food flavoring, fragrances in perfume or in the scent industry. People like its fragrance. Also used as insecticides due to the presence of enantiomer. As it is combustible it considers as biofuel. More ever the great benefit of citrus peel has been used in making candies. Dried citrus peel is used in making black tea and simply our home-made tea. Citrus can also enhance meat dishes by putting them in a cavity of the whole chicken before roasting. Moreover, citrus infused vodka being used for an excellent cocktail. Further peels throw in the kindling for making an especially fragrant fire.

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Proceeds from the production or by-products may spell the difference between profit and loss in the citrus canning industry. The three primary by-products of citrus are dried citrus pulp, molasses, and citrus peel oil. The most important utilization of citrus wastes is as stock feed, which consumes large quantities of dried pulp and citrus molasses. Citrus seed oil, alcohol, pectin, bland syrup, and feed yeast have been produced to a lesser extent.

The term citrus by-product includes numerous by-product feedstuffs which vary according to the originating crop and method of production, that are an important component of ruminant feeding systems in many areas of the world. Citrus fruits are mainly eaten fresh fruit and in processed form as juice. After the juice is extracted from the fruit, there remains a residue comprised of peel (flavedo and albedo), pulp (juice sac residue), rag (membranes and cores) and seeds. These components, either individually or in various combinations, are the source materials from which citrus by-product feedstuffs (BPF) are produced. In India total availability of grape and orange waste is about 2.20 million tonnes.

The fresh citrus pulp waste is palatable to cattle when they are accustomed to the feed and a mature cow can consume about 10 kg per day. Dried citrus pulp has been used as the main energy source for beef cattle and heifers, and up to 45 percent has been used in rations. However, the pulp should not be used at high levels for milking cows as milk production tends to decrease. Digestibility trials with sheep show that its digestibility decreases when the citrus pulp is included at levels more than 30 percent of the ration. It is more advantageous to mix the fresh pulp with partially dried grass or with legumes which cannot be successfully ensiled on their own. To produce seedless or less seeded kinnow and other citrus fruits is a great challenge. Many seeds in kinnow and related types is the main hindrance for Pakistan export.

Mujahid Ali

I am a Ph.D. scholar in Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF and Ex-Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture UOS, Ex-Research Fellow in ACIAR project on vegetables and Erx-Teaching Assitant in Horticulture UAF. Moreover, Ph.D. IRSIP done in the United States.

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