The product. Coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) is an ancien t tropical beverage whose popularity on the international market has been continuously increasing in recent years. Uses. Besides its various traditional uses, this refreshing liqu id extracted from the coconut fruit has recently been described as a “sport beverage” and has drawn the attention of manufacturers as a natural functional drink. Composition. Coconut water has a low matter content (2% to 5% wet basis), mainly comprising sugars and minerals. Quality criteria, such as the water per nut ratio, Total Soluble Solids (TSS), total sugar per nut, and [reducing sugars / total sugars] ratio, are good indicators for estimating the suitability of coconut cultivars for the production of coconut water. Regarding these criteria, dwarf varieties are the most suitable cultivars to obtain a tasty product. Properties. The quality of coconut water can not only be attributed to sugars and minerals because it also has a typical flavour and some original properties. Although many authors have cited medicinal uses or growth-promoting activities, only a few publications have clearly identified the components responsible for these properties. Discussion. Results of former and recent investigations are discussed. Finally, suggestions are made for further research to increase our knowledge of this original tropical juice.
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