Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Mangifera pajang: An Iconic Fruit of Sabah, Malaysia
Mangifera pajang Kostermans of the mango family (Anacardiaceae) is endemic to the lowland rain forests of Borneo. Although growing wild in the forest, trees of are planted in orchards and home gardens due to increasing demand for the fruits which are among the largest of the genus. Fruits are oval in shape, and have a characteristic rough and brown skin. In Sabah, M. pajang or bambangan has ethno-cultural significance, and has become an iconic fruit among the Kadazan-Dusun people, who have developed various traditional cuisines using fresh and preserved fruits. Phytochemical investigations on the edible fruit pulp, peel and kernel of M. pajang showed that they are rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids. From the edible pulp, flavonoids (daidzein, genistein, hesperidin, kaempferol, naringin, luteolin and quercetin), phenolic acids (caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and p-coumaric acid), carotenoids (α-carotene and β-carotene), and xanthophylls (cryptoxanthin and cis-cryptoxanthin) have been reported. Pharmacological properties of bambangan fruits include antioxidant, antibacterial, anticancer and cytoprotective activities. A clinical trial at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has demonstrated the health benefits of regular consumption of bambangan fruit juice. Treated subjects showed significant improvement in certain cardiovascular biochemical parameters that can safeguard against cardiovascular diseases. Traditional and functional food products from bambangan fruits are being developed in Sabah.