A review of the proximate composition and nutritional value of Marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra)

P. Hiwilepo-Van Hal, P.G. Bille, R. Verkerk, M.A.J.S. van Boekel, M. Dekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This review critically evaluated literature on proximate composition and nutritional value of Marula in comparison with other tropical and indigenous fruits in order to identify areas for future research. It was found that nutrients content and processing methods of Marula fruit varied greatly from study to study and according to place of origin, soil, climate, handling, analytical methods used and time that lapsed after harvesting before analysis took place. Marula fruit pulp is reported to have vitamin C content higher than that of most fruits, ranging from 62 mg/100 g to over 400 mg/100 g. Additionally, Marula fruit is reported to have an antioxidant capacity of between 8 and 25 mM, (ascorbic acid equivalents) and a total phenolic content ranging from 7.5 to 24 mg/g dry weight gallic acid equivalent. Marula kernels are also a good source of protein, oil, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and their oil is used in food preparations. Marula fruits could play a vital role in terms of nutrition to rural community who rely on the usage of the fruits, as they do not have easy access to other sources of nutrients. Recommendation given for future research includes improving Marula fruits juice extraction and yields, investigating the effect of processing and storage on the retention of nutrients such as vitamin C and its antioxidant capacity in processed and unprocessed Marula products and further identifying Marula fruits flavor compounds and their effect on processing and storage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-892
JournalPhytochemistry Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • tropical fruits
  • food-products
  • ascorbic-acid
  • niger
  • juice


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