Authors: Dr. H. Rymbai, R.K. Patel, N.A. Deshmukh, A.K. Jha, R.S. Patel , G.F. War
Sohiong (Prunus nepalensis) is an important indigenous underutilized fruit of Khasi and Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya, India. It belongs to family Rosaceae. It is widely distributed in different part of the hills of Meghalaya in the altitude ranging from 1500 to 2000 m. The plant is of low chilling types, evergreen, medium to large size tree. The fruit quality is excellence with unique colour, taste and flavor.
The tree starts bearing after 7 - 8 years of seedling planting. Flowers are white in colour arranged in terminal recemes or auxillary, occuring in October to March. Fruits mature during August to November vary with altitude. Fruit is drupe, fleshy green to pinkish in colour at early stage and later on become dark purple at ripening with smooth surface. The stone is hard, round in shape with smooth surface but rough in few genotypes. Its fruits are being utilized by the tribal in various forms since centuries before. Fruits are eaten fresh when ripened. The pulp and juice of the fruit possesses purple colour, therefore it is used for squash, jam, RTS and wine preparation because it imparts purple colour. The sohiong fruit is reach in nutrition and holds good potential for extraction of natural edible colour required in food industry. It has also been observed that colour may last for longer period (around one year) in squash and jam. Sohiong is growing wildly in the forest areas and backyard crop. And no establish orchards of Sohiong are available in the region.
Generally, there are two types of sohiong fruits existing based on size, viz., bigger and smaller fruit. Bigger fruit type had fruit weight (7.91 g), fruit volume (8.33 ml), fruit length (21.76 mm), fruit diameter (21.80 mm), stone weight (2.44 g), stone length (15.94 mm) and stone diameter (15.08 mm) with pulp recovery (69.11%) and pulp:stone ratio (2.24). Smaller fruit type had fruit weight (3.98 g), fruit volume (4.25 ml), fruit length (18.16 mm), fruit diameter (17.12 mm), stone weight (1.00 g), stone length (13.48 mm) and stone diameter (11.48 mm) with pulp recovery (74.71%) and pulp:stone ratio (2.95).
Bigger fruit type of Sohiong showed higher content of acidity (3.32%), ascorbic acid (58.38 mg/100 g), reducing sugar (4.44%), total sugar (8.75%), pectin (2.00%), moisture (in fruit, 61.84% and seed, 33.33%) as compared to smaller fruit types. However, higher content of TSS (20.15%), Beta-carotene (2.76 mg/100g), anthocyanin (358.86 mg/100g) and fibre (2.5%) was obtained in smaller fruit of sohiong.
Mineral content was higher in bigger fruit type for phosphorus (115 mg/100 g), sulphur (1362.5 mg/100g), iron (9.6 mg/100 g), copper (1.56 mg/100 g), zinc (2.42 mg/100 g) and manganese (7.70 mg/100 g). Whereas, higher potassium content (530 mg/100 g) was recorded in smaller size fruit over bigger fruit type. It was interestingly to note that the nitrogen content (70.00 mg/100 g) of both the genotypes is the same.
It can be concluded that bigger fruit type showed higher value for most of the physical parameter, except pulp recovery, pulp: ratio and dry matter recovery. Similarly, bigger fruit noted maximum value for bio-chemical characters, except for TSS, Beta-carotene, anthocyanin and fibre. Smaller fruit size types showed higher value for potassium content, while the other mineral contents was recorded higher in bigger fruit. Therefore, there are scope for in-depth study in evaluation and utilization of Sohiong fruits for nutritional security diet among the tribal populace of the region.
Image: Sohiong Fruit
1. BC Deka, RK Patel, H Rymbai, A Thirugnanavel, N.A. Deshmukh, SV Ngachan. 2014. Sohiong and Sohshang. In: two lesser known fruits of Northeast India. Published by the ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Nagaland Centre, Jharnapani, Nagaland - 797106. pp. 1-25.
About Author / Additional Info:
I am a Scientist at ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam - 793 103.
Interest areas are fruit crops especially indigenous fruit crops.