Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The papaya, also known as 'pawpaw', 'mamao', or 'tree melon', is the fruit of the tree Carica papaya. Originally from southern Mexico and neighboring countries, the papaya plant is now cultivated in most tropical countries. The tree is also grown in the United States, primarily in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its utility is in breaking down the tough meat fibers and has been utilized for thousands of years in its native South America. It is sold as a component in powdered meat tenderizer available in most supermarkets.
- Fruits of Warm Climates: Papaya and Related Species
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Papaya Fruit Facts.
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