Bomba fruit

Papaya, Bomba fruit or Olocoton . Soft, very juicy fruit with a buttery consistency. It belongs to the Caricaceae family, made up of 71 tree species without branches that produce great fruits, it has many medicinal properties that together with its delicious flavor make it very popular and appreciated.


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  • 1 Common name
  • 2 Taxonomy
    • 1 Scientific name
    • 2 Basonym combinations
    • 3 Synonymy
  • 3 Features
    • 1 Producing countries
  • 4 Properties
    • 1 Nutritional value
  • 5 Uses
  • 6 varieties of papayas
    • 1 In Cuba
  • 7 Cultivation
    • 1 Harmful agents not present in Cuba that affect the crop
      • 1.1 Papaya meleira virus, or “papaya sticky disease” (PMV)
      • 1.2 Papaya lethal yellowing virus (PLYV)
      • 1.3 Vira_Cabeca
    • 2 Climate to cultivate
    • 3 Soil
    • 4 Plantation framework
    • 5 Irrigation
    • 6 Fertilization
    • 7 Pests of papayas
    • 8 Diseases
    • 9 Collection of papayas
  • 8 References
  • 9 Sources

Common name

Papaya or papayon, Olocoton, papaya melon, or bomba fruit.


Scientific name

  • Carica papaya L. [1]

Basonym combinations

  • Papaya papaya (L.) H. Karst. [two]


  • Carica bourgeaei Solms
  • Carica citriformis Jacq.
  • Carica cubensis Solms
  • Carica hermaphrodita White
  • Carica jamaicensis Urb.
  • Carica jimenezii (Bertoni in JB Jimenez) Bertoni
  • Carica mamaya Vell.
  • Carica papaya f. mamaya stellfeld
  • Carica papaya f. Solms portoricensis
  • Carica papaya var. bady Aké Assi
  • Carica papaya var. jimenezii Bertoni in JB Jimenez
  • Carica peltata Hook. & Arn.
  • Carica pinnatifida Heilborn
  • Carica portorricensis (Solms) Urb.
  • Carica posopora L.
  • Carica rochefortii Solms
  • Carica sativa Tussac
  • Papaya bourgeaei (Solms) Kuntze
  • Papaya carica Gaertn.
  • Maroon Papaya Sint. ex Kuntze
  • Papaya citriformis (Jacq.) A. DC.
  • Papaya communis noronha
  • Papaya cubensis (Solms) Kuntze
  • Cucumerina papaya Noronha
  • Papaya edulis Bojer
  • Papaya edulis var. Bojer macrocarp
  • Papaya edulis var. Bojer pyriformis
  • Papaya hermaphrodite White
  • Papaya papaya (L.) H. Karst.
  • Papaya peltata (Hook. & Arn.) Kuntze
  • Papaya rochefortii (Solms) Kuntze
  • Papaya sativa Tuss.
  • Papaya vulgaris A. DC.
  • Vasconcellea peltata (Hook. & Arn.) A. DC. [3]


  • Tree: The tree that produces it is a fragile and spongy trunk that can measure up to seven meters in height.
  • Flowers: Papaya bushes have three different kinds of feet; some with female flowers, others with hermaphrodite flowers and others with male flowers.
  • Female flowers: it has a chalice formed by a crown or five – pointed star very sharp and easy to distinguir.Encima this the ovary, covered by sepals is; these are five, yellow- white in color , and when very tender, lightly touched with violet on the tip; They are not welded.The stigmas are five, yellow in color, and fan-shaped. The fruits of this foot are large and globose.
  • Hermaphrodite flowers: it has 10 stamens, welded petals over a third of its length, a cylindrical and elongated ovary, produces elongated uniform fruits, they have both sexes and the tree that has them has three different kinds of flowers.
  • Male flowers: they grow on long peduncles of more than half a meter in length and at whose ends are clusters made up of 15 – 20 florets.
  • Stem: Erect, hollow, greyish, cylindrical, smooth with diameter e / 20 and 30 cm and up to 10 m in height. Hardened by the presence of leaf scars.
  • Leaves: Webbed with hollow petioles, up to 130 cm long. The limbus can measure between 25 and 75 cm. The coloration can vary from green to purple. An adult plant has e / 30 and 50 functional leaves, which fall as the tree grows.
  • Root: The main (pivoting) root is napiform and can reach more than 1 m in depth. The secondary roots develop in a radius of e / 80 and 100 cm. The highest concentration of absorbent roots are found in the first 30 cm.
  • Fruits: a berry from a super ovary, can be round, smooth, elongated. Consisting of 3 parts, Exocarp (shell), Mesocarp (pulp), Endocarp (seeds and mucilage).

Producing countries

The countries that produce the fruit are: Central America (Southern Mexico ) It is currently cultivated in Florida , Hawaii , British East Africa , South Africa , Ceylon , India , the Canary Islands , the Malay Archipelago and Australia , Cuba , Colombia .


The properties that the papaya or Olocoton fruit presents for human health are:

  • Fights constipation as it acts as a mild laxative.
  • Streamlines external and internal scarring (eg gastric ulcers )
  • Papaya facilitates tanning thanks to the fact that it contains a large amount of Retinin (it facilitates the action of Melanin)
  • Eliminate intestinal parasites . It also helps eliminate the Amoebas that are responsible for many chronic diarrhea since its fresh seeds are very rich in a nutrient called Carpasemin.
  • Strengthens immunity thanks to its high content of Vitamin C .
  • Papaya facilitates digestion and calms stomach pain and inflammation thanks to the fact that it contains an enzyme called Papain. Papain is an enzyme similar to human pepsin that breaks down proteins and favors the digestive process. This is why people feel it helps them digest meat and heavy meals.
  • Papain also has analgesic properties or pain relievers.
  • Very useful in case of gastroenteritis, colitis and irritable colon thanks to its softening and antiseptic effect on the intestines.
  • Papaya juice can remove skin blemishes and improve eczema.
  • Papaya is the ideal fruit for dieting since it is low in calories and rich in nutrients.
  • Alkalizing effect of the body (ideal for people with acidosis)

Nutritional value

Calories 26.5
Carbohydrates (g) 6.3
Fiber (g) 1.9
Potassium (mg) 211
Magnesium (mg) 8
Provitamin A (mcg) 97.5
Vitamin C (mg) 82
Folic acid (mcg) one


  • Papaya is a tropical fruit that is mainly consumed for its pulp, which is usually orange in color and has a sweet and juicy flavor.
  • Ripe fruits are generally eaten as fresh fruit, sliced, with sugar and lime juice, or in fruit salads.
  • Green papayas are consumed as cooked fruit.
  • Various products such as jams, soft drinks, ice creams and jellies are also made, in addition to making preserves with it.
  • Papain is used as a beer clarifier , in meat tenderizing solutions and as a drug for digestive remedies.
  • Papain comes from the drying of the latex that is obtained from the clamping of the various green parts of the papaya, mainly the fruit, and is mainly used in pharmacy, in the food industries to tenderize meat, in textiles to macerate the wool fibers and cotton , and in the tanning industry for leather tanning.

Papaya varieties

Due to the fact that papaya reproduces by seed, a large number of varieties have been developed, using in each cultivation area the best adapted to its climatic conditions. Mixed varieties are not very stable, and it is recommended to be careful in obtaining seeds from parents that belong to the same variety.
The Solo, Bluestem, Graham, Betty, Fairchild, Rissimee, Puna and Hortusgred varieties stand out.
The most accepted varieties are Solo, whose fruit, in hermaphroditic plants, weighs about 450 grams; the shape is pear, the shell is hard and the flavor is sweet; and the Puna variety, both from Hawaii.

In Cuba

Red Maradol : Variety of Cuban origin, obtained from the Research Institute of Tropical Viandas (INIVIT), of early maturation (beginning of the harvest cycle between six and seven months). Consistent fruit, with an average weight of 1.6 to 2.2 kg, oblong shape and red pulp, excellent flavor and a Brix of 11%, high productive potential and long shelf life.
Maradol Amarilla : Variety of Cuban origin obtained at INIVIT, early maturing (beginning of the harvest cycle between six and seven months). Consistent fruit with excellent flavor and a Brix of 11%, with an average weight between 1.5 and 2.5 kg, oblong and yellow flesh. It has high productive potential.
INIVIT fb – 2000 Dwarf: Variety obtained at INIVIT. Low plants (0.95 – 1.05 m). It produces oblong fruits, with an average of 37 fruits / plant, of red mesocarp with a Brix between 10 and 12%. The average weight of the fruits varies between 0.5 and 2.0 kg. Adaptable to grow houses with long shelf life.
HG / MA : Cuban cultivar obtained by hybridization. Large fruit with an average weight of 3.7 kg, yellow flesh and Brix between 10 and 11%, oblong in shape with a sharp end.
HG / MR : Cuban cultivar obtained by hybridization. Large fruit with an average weight of 3.7 kg, pulp of red color, oblong in shape with a sharp end. With a Brix between 11 and 12%.
Nika III: Cultivate from Nicaragua, with somewhat deformed elongated fruits, its pulp is pale pink to intense, somewhat tasteless and very juicy. Average weight of 5.5 kg. With a Brix between 9 and 10%.
Matancera Giant : Cultivate native to the province of Matanzas by means of positive selection, with a light ash-colored stem and purple pigmentation on the upper part, with large pedunculated fruits, its salmon-red pulp and a Brix between 11 and 12%, with average weight of 2.8 kg in the first bunch of fruits.
Romelia: Variety introduced in Cuba, very prolific, of early production, pyriform fruits with an elongated neck, weight between 0.7 and 1.5 Kg of orange pulp, of excellent flavor and texture consistent with a Brix between 10 and 11% , the height can reach up to 6.0 m.
Giant Guantanamo : Variety obtained by selection in Cuba, with large oblong fruits with a sharp end, the weight varies from 3.0 to 4.0 kg, with a large cavity, light yellow flesh, consistent with a Brix between 9 and 11%, with a thick stem with a height that can exceed 6.0 m.

In recent years, the Genetic Improvement Program at INIVIT has obtained other varieties of papaya, which are introduced in some regions of the country.

  • INIVIT Fb-4

EI INIVIT has a small germplasm bank in this crop, which are used for the development and maintenance of genetic variability, which include: Criolla , NARAN , Red Ladys , NIKA -3 , Scarlet -princess’ , Gigante Matancera , among others.


Papaya plants.

It is advisable to carry out an annual planting of seeds to replace trees that have reached two years of age, since trees above this age are very large, which increases the cost of harvesting the fruit or obtaining latex and have a lower production. Female trees are best for latex extraction, as the fruit is much larger. For the consumption of fresh fruits, hermaphroditic feet are preferred since their fruits are smaller and more commercial.

It is necessary to practice self-pollination or cross-pollination between female and hermaphrodite plants or between hermaphrodites, since male feet are unproductive and represent an economic cost within the farm. To achieve self-fertilization or crossing, female and hermaphrodite trees will be chosen whose flowers are well formed and with the help of a brush or pen, they will delve inside them to bring pollen to the stigmata.

Later the pollinated flowers will be covered with a bag until the fruit sets. Thus, seeds will be obtained that will give rise to female plants and hermaphrodite plants that we can later plant again, avoiding the appearance of male feet.

Harmful agents not present in Cuba that affect the crop

In Cuba the planting of fruit trees, and among these, of papaya has increased and is considered a line for the food security of the population, which has been cultivated since 1906, and from 1940 until today, different researchers They have carried out studies related to diseases caused by viruses, being the Papaya ring spot virus (PRSV), one of the harmful agents that led to the prohibition of its planting in the eighties, and which currently continues to be one of the factors that limit the production of this crop. The transmission of the PRSV is carried out, very effectively, through different species of aphids through their stilettos, which means that they do not retain the virus for a long time. Subsequently, the Papaya necrosis virus was identified (Mejías et al., 1987),

However, it is of great interest to know the fundamental aspects of other pathologies that affect this crop and that, in addition, they are registered in the Official Quarantine List of the Republic of Cuba, for researchers and decision-makers in charge of dictating the measures to avoid the introduction of the same or to mitigate the impacts that its dissemination can cause once present.

For this reason, the objective of this work is to point out the basic aspects of the Papaya meleira virus (PMV) and Papaya lethal yellowing virus (PLYV), as well as the Vira_ Cabeca phytoplasma.

Papaya meleira virus, or “papaya sticky disease” (PMV)

It was detected in the 1980s in plantations located in the extreme south of Bahía, in Brazil, and quickly spread throughout the main producing regions of the country, such as Norte del Spíritu Santo, extreme Sur de Bahía, Pernambuco, Paraíba and Ceará. The main symptom consists of an excessive exudation of latex with a more fluid consistency than normal, which causes a blackened appearance on the fruits and an alteration in the consistency and flavor of these that do not allow their commercialization. In young leaves, necrotic areas may appear, mainly on the margins.

From affected plants, isometric particles of approximately 50 nm in diameter were observed and a 12 Kb dsRNA fragment was obtained. Later, Maciel-Zambolin et al., 2003), verified the viral etiology of this disease, and for the first time once they purified the virus, to confirm the presence of a double-stranded RNA. Furthermore, they noted that it was efficiently transmitted by whiteflies.

In general, few diagnostic methods have been described for this virus, which have been based on visual observation of the symptoms and dsRNA extractions in CF11 columns, which have practical limitations, since the first involves the presence in the plantations of foci for long periods of time and the second is very laborious and does not allow the diagnosis on a large scale. Due to this, a rapid detection method was proposed, by visualizing the viral dsRNA directly on 1% agarose gels, from aliquots of latex from infected papayas (Habibe and Nascemento, 2002).

Between 2008-2009, this virus was detected in Mexico and Ecuador, where measures and official resolutions have been taken for the detailed inspection of the plantations and the application of possible management.

Papaya lethal yellowing virus (PLYV)

It is present in Brazil, in the Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte regions. Studies revealed that it has isometric particles 25-30nm in diameter and a 1.6 x 106 Da RNAss genome, suggesting that it may be a member of the Sobemoviridae family, genus Sobemovirus (Silva et al., 2000).

The symptoms of PLYV begin to be observed in the leaves of the upper part of the crown, which become chlorotic, twisted, yellowish, wilted, which finally fall and the fruits have small chlorotic spots.

PLYV is transmitted through contaminated soil, water, hands, instruments, and experimentally by mechanical inoculation. Transmission by the papaya seeds themselves has been demonstrated, although the virus is not found in their embryo. For the diagnosis of PLYV, the Elisa-Indirect technique is used with specific immunoseries.


Vira_Cabeca or the “apical necrosis of papaya is present in Brazil, in the regions of Sul da Bahía and Norte do Espírito Santo, and although at the beginning of its appearance the epidemiological evidence suggested that it was an infectious agent, possibly transmitted by insects, it was recently reported that it was a phytoplasma of group 16SrXIII (Kitajima, personal communication, 2010)

The initial symptoms consist of a chlorosis in the younger leaves, later an apical necrosis and a curvature of the apical zone of the plants are observed. The leaves drier and fall later. The petioles and internodes of the apical region are shorter. In advanced stages of the disease, the apical leaves show severe necrosis and die. The incidence of this disease in Brazil has been low, but in some cases it has reached values ​​between 10-20%, especially in the months of June to August.

Climate to cultivate

Humidity and heat are the essential conditions for the proper development of papaya. It requires areas with an average rainfall of 1800 mm per year and an average annual temperature of 20-22 ºC; Although it can resist light colds, if it does not have enough heat, it develops poorly and the fruits do not ripen.

It should not be grown in areas prone to frost or temperatures below freezing since these would cause the death of the vegetable. Cool, wet nights cause the fruit to ripen slowly and turn out to be of poor quality. As for the wind, it supports it well since its stem is very flexible and it is joined by the petioles of the leaves and the peduncles of the flowers, being difficult to detach. Strong winds can damage some leaves but not flowers or fruits.


Papaya grows in any type of soil as long as they are light, fertile (rich in humus), soft, deep and permeable soils. As their stems and roots are soft and fluffy, they should not be grown in too humid and compact soils with poor drainage, since they will rot the roots.

Plantation frame

The planting frames are real at a distance of three meters, in holes with a depth of 80 cm and a width of 50 cm. The plants will be placed so that the neck is at ground level so that the stem does not rot.


The average irrigation needs of papaya are 2000 m3 per year per hectare, distributed in little irrigation every fifteen days so that the soil is continuously humid. It resists drought well, although in regression of the final production.


In the first six months of life, nitrogen needs reach 700 grams of ammonium sulfate per foot and will be supplied through irrigation. During the rest of the crop 1000 grams will be supplied annually. When planting, about 400 to 500 grams per foot of potassium sulfate and the same amount of lime superphosphate should be incorporated into the soil . 0.1 kg of a 4-8-5 fertilizer or similar mixture is used per plant at two-week intervals for the first six months and 0.2 kg thereafter.

Papaya pests

The pests that can most harm the papaya fruit are the nematodes, the red spider, the Mediterranean fruit fly ( Ceratitis capitata ) and the papaya fly Toxotrypana curvicauda .

Its control is simple since it is enough to destroy and bury the affected fruits and the use of phosphoric ester emulsion sprays, such as malathion, dipterex or lebaycid.

The green peach aphid ( Myzus persicae ), which is a transmitter of the mosaic virus, also stands out . Its control can be carried out by means of malathion at 25% of wealth, diluted to three per thousand.

The caterpillar of the lepidopteran Erinnyis spp devours the leaves of the papaya but its control is possible by applying carbavil or sevin, which are 50% wettable powders of active product.


  • Produced by the Glomerella cingulata and Colletotrichum gloesporioides fungi, they cause erosions in the ripe papaya fruits.
  • Peduncle rot. Produced by the Ascochyta caricae fungus, it affects young fruits, destroying its peduncle and causing them to drop. It also causes black spots on ripe fruits. This fungus reproduces by conidia so it is fought by maneb.
  • Root rot. Produced by the peronosporácea Phytophtora parasitica attacks the roots causing the destruction, wilt and death of the plants. It develops in poorly drained soils.

Picking papayas

Fruiting of papaya occurs 10-12 months after transplanting, except in varieties such as Betty, which can flower two or three months after being planted. Flowers and fruits should be thinned, eliminating the most defective ones, distributing the fruits so that they do not damage each other. Every year a papaya produces about fifty fruits, of which should be left to harvest about twenty in full maturity and take the remaining still green ones.

The harvesting stage is reached when the fruits begin to soften and lose the green color of the apex. maturity will be reached 4 or 5 days after harvesting and the fruits will turn yellow. Some varieties like Betty do not change color


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