Rainforest Products

Açai oil - Euterpe oleraceae

CAS# 861902-11-6

Açai Oil

The acai oil (Euterpe oleracea) represents a new cosmetic ingredient, originates from the Amazon forest, which provides many benefits to maintaining the cutaneous balance. 

Season of harvest for Açai Oil

Physical-Chemical Data and its applications

The acai oil (Euterpe oleracea) represents a new cosmetic ingredient, originates from the Amazon forest, which provides many benefits to maintaining the cutaneous balance. Its structure is mainly composed of anthocyanins, phytosterols, essential fatty acids (EFAs).

 The profile of fatty acids in the acai oil qualifies it as a special edible oil, mainly due to linoleic acid (Omega 6) and oleic acid (Omega 9), and presents in its composition, predominantly, monounsaturated fatty acids (up to 61% ) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (up to 10.6%), both recommended for prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Among the phytosterols present in the acai oil are the beta-sitosterol, the stigmasterol, and the campesterol, which are widely used by the cosmetic industry as a preventive of skin aging by promoting cellular metabolism and reduction of inflammation.

It is no coincidence that the color of the acai is similar to that of red wine. Responsible for the color are the anthocyanins, an antioxidant substance that helps to fight cholesterol and free radicals. However, the acai has up to 33 times more anthocyanins than grape oil.


Popular use of Acai Oil

The fruit of the açaí (Euterpe oleracea) is used for the preparation of the regional drink, the açaí wine, in reference to the red-purple color of red grape wine, and constitutes a food that is consumed in large quantities throughout the Amazon.

 It is estimated that the daily consumption reaches up to 180 thousand liters in Belém alone. Due to its high nutritional value (caloric content) the “wine-of-açaí” is part of the diet of the population, highlighting it as an essentially energetic food, with a caloric value higher than that of milk and a double content of lipids.

Açaí as food provides the following benefits to the human body (values per 100 g of pulp):

– Carbohydrates (total lipids 48 g) and Potassium (932 mg) for essential energy production;

– Proteins for muscle development (13.00 g);

– Fiber for the activity of intestinal functions (3.15 g);

– Anthocyanins for cholesterol control, responsible for the purple color of açaí (926 mg);

– Iron for the oxygenation of blood cells (2.6 mg);

– Vitamin E (α-Tocopherol 45 mg), antioxidant for cancer prevention;

– Calcium for strengthening bones, preventing against osteoporosis (386 mg);

– Vitamin B1 for the malleability of the skeleton and its maintenance (0.25 mg).

Óleo de açai

Ecology of Açai Oil

The açaí, Euterpe oleracea C. Martius, is found throughout the Amazon basin and is particularly abundant in its eastern part. It is one of the most typical palms of Pará, dominating the landscape where it appears, sometimes in almost pure formations, preferring flooded areas and wetlands with high natural regeneration (1). 

There are two main varieties, E. oleracea, which occurs more frequently in the Amazon River estuary, and E. precatoria, common in the forests of Western Amazonia (Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, Roraima). E. oleraceae presents abundant tillering that without management can reach up to 20 strains, forming what is called “clump”. This fact makes it undoubtedly an ideal species for rational and permanent exploitation of the palm heart and fruits.

 Thus, the removal of the palm heart can be done only from a few selected strains, year after year, without killing the individual that would tiller again. This removal of older strains corresponds to a management well suited to this palm tree.

On the other hand, the variety E. precatoria grows isolated without forming tillers, which inhibits the concomitant exploitation of the palm heart and fruit.

In rationally managed plantations, both in native açaizais of the várzea and terra firme, 400 clumps are recommended per hectare with a spacing of 5 x 5 m between them. Estimating a production of 50 kg of fruits per clump with 4 producing strains, a production of 20 tons of fruits per hectare is possible. In the várzea the production is up to 30% more than on terra firme. The açaí oil is extracted with a very limited yield, of only 1%, which corresponds to 200 liters per hectare.


Açaí-solteiro (Euterpe precatoria), uma boa opção de exploração agrícola em Rondônia http://ambientes.ambientebrasil.com.br/ agropecuario/artigo_agropecuario/acai-solteiro.html .

CALVACANTE, P. B.: Frutas Comestíveis da Amazônia, 1996, 6a Ed , Edições Cejup – Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém. .

MORAIS, L. R. : Banco de Dados Sobre Espécies Oleaginosas da Amazônia, não-publicado .

NASCIMENTO, R. J. : Composição em ácidos graxos do óleo da polpa de açaí extraído com enzimas e com hexano. 2008, Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura, Vol. 30, N° 02 .

ROGEZ, H. Açaí: Preparo, Composição e Melhoramento da Composição. 2000, Belém; EDFPA, pp. 313. .

SHANLEY, P. et. al. : Frutíferas e plantas úteis na vida amazônica, 2005, CIFOR, IMAZON, Editora Supercores, Belém, p. 300 .

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