theguardian: by Suzanne Goldenberg —
It’s big and bumpy with a gooey interior and a powerful smell of decay – but it could help keep millions of people from hunger.
Researchers say jackfruit – a large ungainly fruit grown across south and south-east Asia – could be a replacement for wheat, corn and other staple crops under threat from climate change.
The World Bank and United Nations warned recently that rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall had already reduced yields of wheat and corn, and could lead to food wars within the decade.
Now researchers say jackfruit could help provide the solution.
Jackfruit is the largest known treeborne fruit. Even a small jackfruit weighs in at 10-15lbs (5-7kg), and farmers have recorded specimens of more than 100lbs (45kg).
“It’s a miracle. It can provide so many nutrients and calories – everything,” said Shyamala Reddy, a biotechnology researcher at the University of Agriculture Sciences in Bangalore, India. “If you just eat 10 or 12 bulbs of this fruit, you don’t need food for another half a day.”