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Extraction of biochemical properties of sim fruit (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (Ait.) Hassk) and its utilization in food and pharmaceutical production

The sim plant (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa  (Ait.) Hassk) also known as Rose Myrtle is a shrub in the family Myrtaceae, native to the South East Asia. It grows widely in many regions in the world and is very popular in Vietnam. All parts of the sim plant including leaves, root, and fruits have been commonly utilized long time ago in the traditional medicine of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thai Lan.

A joint research project on Extraction of biochemical contents of sim fruit (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa  (Ait.) Hassk) and its utilization in food and pharmaceutical  production has been carried out by the Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Vietnam National University of Agriculture in collaboration with the Institute of Life Sciences, Louvain Drug Research Institute, the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium); the Center for Agro-food Valorisation of Amazonian Bioactive Compounds, the Federal University of Para (Brazil) and the Center de Recherche Public - Gabriel Lippmann (Louxembourg) since 2010. The project goals are to identify and extract biochemical contents, nutritional composition of the sim fruit, and utilize them in food and  pharmaceutical  production. Results showed that the sim fruit had high levels of dietary fibre, and highly valued vitamins and minerals. It particularly had a high amount of piceatannol, a stilbene with potent biological activities. Interestingly, its piceatannol content was 1000 -2000 times higher than that of a red grape, the fruit whose piceatannol has been mainly utilized food production (for information, please find project publications at http://www.vnua.edu.vn/eng/index.php/research/accademicpublications/internationaljournals)

Currently, the Faculty of Food Science and Technology is intensively continuing their research on (i) pilot method of optimization of extraction of piceatannol, (ii) determination of biochemical properties of the sim fruit; (iii) application of the extraction in production of functional foods; and (iv) deployment of the extraction in cancer treatment on animals.

Parts of sim fruit