Abstract

High-performance liquid chromatography is used to determine the amino acid content of ripe and unripe ackee fruit. Specific emphasis is placed on the level of the toxic amino acid hypoglycin A (hyp-A) in the unripe and ripe ackee fruit and seed. Unripe samples are found to contain significantly higher quantities (P < 0.05) of hyp-A when compared with ripe samples. Uncooked unripe fruit is found to contain 124.4 ± 6.7 mg/100 g fresh weight and uncooked ripe fruit 6.4 ± 1.1 mg/100 g fresh weight. The seed of the uncooked unripe fruit is found to contain 142.8 ± 8.8 mg/100 g fresh weight, and the seed of uncooked ripe fruit has 106.0 ± 5.4 mg/100 g fresh weight. Boiling fruit in water for approximately 30 min is efficient in removing hyp-A from the edible arilli; however, low levels of 0.54 ± 0.15 mg/200 mL are detected in the water that was used to cook the ripe fruit. The average %recovery of the amino acids was 80.34%.