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Brazil nut

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**Botanical Information**:
– Common names: Castanha-do-brasil, Castanha-do-pará, Castanha-da-amazônia, Castanha-do-acre, Noz amazônica
– Description: Large tree, up to 50m tall, trunk diameter of 1 to 2m, can live for 500+ years, dry-season deciduous leaves, small greenish-white flowers in panicles
– Reproduction: Pollinated by specific bee genera, fruit takes 14 months to mature, large capsule with hard shell, seeds packed like segments of an orange, agoutis help in seed dispersal
– Taxonomy: Belongs to Lecythidaceae family, order Ericales, monotypic genus Bertholletia, named after Claude Louis Berthollet, related to blueberries and cranberries
– Distribution and habitat: Native to Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, scattered trees in large forests, threat to vehicles and people due to heavy falling fruits

**Production and Economic Importance**:
– Global production in 2020: 69,658 tonnes
– Brazil and Bolivia produced 92% of the total
– Most production from wild harvests in Amazon regions
– Significant economic importance in tropical forests
– Environmental effects of harvesting: Model for income generation without forest destruction, logging threatens sustainability, intense gathering reduces seed replacement, sites with light gathering have more young trees

**Nutritional Value and Uses**:
Nutrition: Brazil nuts are 3% water, 14% protein, 12% carbohydrates, and 66% fats, rich in dietary fiber, thiamin, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, selenium
– Oil: Brazil nut oil contains 48% unsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic and linoleic acids, phytosterol beta-sitosterol, fat-soluble vitamin E
Wood: Lumber from Brazil nut trees is of excellent quality, suitable for flooring and heavy construction, logging prohibited by law in Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru

**Regulations and Contaminants**:
– European Union import regulation: Imposed strict regulations in 2003 due to aflatoxin contamination, concerns about contamination in Brazil nuts
– Toxicity: Susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, mechanical sorting and drying reduce aflatoxins, Brazil nuts contain radium and barium
– Other uses: Brazil nut oil used in clocks, manufacturing paint, cosmetics, soap, and perfume, nutshell used as an abrasive, charcoal from shells used to purify water

**Health Benefits and Environmental Impact**:
– Health Benefits: Good source of selenium, rich in beneficial compounds, cardiovascular risk reduction, nutritional content comparison with other nuts
– Environmental Impact: Coexistence of timber and Brazil nut harvesting in Amazon forests, concerns about logging activities affecting Brazil nut trees, role in biodiversity conservation, importance of sustainable practices

Brazil nut (Wikipedia)

The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and it is also the name of the tree's commercially harvested edible seeds. It is one of the largest and longest-lived trees in the Amazon rainforest. The fruit and its nutshell – containing the edible Brazil nut – are relatively large, possibly weighing as much as 2 kg (4.4 lb) in total weight. As food, Brazil nuts are notable for diverse content of micronutrients, especially a high amount of selenium. The wood of the Brazil nut tree is prized for its quality in carpentry, flooring, and heavy construction.

Brazil nut tree
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Bertholletia
B. excelsa
Binomial name
Bertholletia excelsa
Humb. & Bonpl.
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