Dragon reaching height up to 10 meters or

Dragon
fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya, belongs to the Hylocereus genus of the
Cactaceae family.  It is recognized as leathery,
slightly leafy – skinned sweet fruit of many cactus species rooted from Mexico,
which was believed to be then brought to Central America by the European.
Nowadays, dragon fruits are widely cultivated in the United States, the South
East Asia region, Israel, Australia, Cyprus, as well as the Canary Islands (Morton, 1987). The term “dragon
fruit” is used in English to express the vernacular Asian name. There are various
types of dragon fruit derived from three main species of white – fleshed fruit
(H. undatus), red – fleshed fruit (H. polyrhizus), and yellow – skinned
fruit (H. megalanthus). In this
research, only white – fleshed and red – fleshed dragon fruits are considered.

White
– fleshed dragon fruits (Hylocereus
undatus) are the most popular kind in the genus, which are widely grown in
the tropical regions. They are lithophytic or hemiepiphytic species that sprawl
by using aerial root on rocks or tree with the reaching height up to 10 meters
or more (Staples & Herbst, 2005). The fruit is oblong
or oval with various sizes from 6 – 12 cm long and 4 – 9 cm thick. It has
edible white pulp and small black seeds that contain high amount of essential
oils (Anderson, 2001). Likewise, red – fleshed dragon fruits
(Hylocereus polyrhizus) are also
hemiepiphyte plants with impressive ornamental vine and huge flowers. They are
easy to cultivate and fast growing in the regions of dry or deciduous coastal
forests (Hammel, 2013). As called, they have bright magenta
pulp with pear – shaped seeds and ovate or globous shape.

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In
Vietnam, there are more than 40 varieties of dragon fruit grown, 95% of which
belong to H. undatus species while
the remaining 5% derive from H.
polyrhizus. They are grown mainly in Red River Delta and Southern part of
Vietnam. According to Vietnam Trade’s report in 2017, the cultivated areas of dragon
fruits have increased from 5,000 hectares in 2000 to 25,000 hectares with the
production mass of 614.346 tons in 2014 (http://vietnamtradeoffice.net/).
Due to the increasing rate in production for the past few years, the price of
dragon fruits also tends to rise. The season of dragon fruits is from April to October
and depending on the harvest, one kilogram of dragon fruit may range from 8,000
to 20,000 VND, though the red – fleshed dragon fruit may cost higher. Beside
internal trading, dragon fruit production also plays an important role in
exportation to China, the United States, and South East Asia regions, etc.
Therefore, the cultivation of dragon fruits can be considered as a resolution
to raise the living standard of poor farmers in Vietnam.

For the physiological properties, previous studies have found that
dragon fruits are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds. The highest
amount of antioxidant content present in dragon fruits is vitamin C, which
accounts for 10% of the daily value (Mercola, 2017). Along with vitamin
C, dragon fruits are also known as a good source for thiamin vitamin and other
B vitamins that help in breaking down of foods in the body. The phytochemical
captin present in the fruit is used in medication to treat heart problems.
Dragon fruits have no complex carbohydrate. The carbohydrate source comes from
fructose and glucose, which are the main sugar component in the fruits (Liaotrakoon,
2013).
Besides, they also contain other nutrients such as polyunsaturated (good) fatty
acids, carotene, and protein. Lycopene pigment, a carotene responsible for the
red color in red – fleshed dragon fruit, is believed to help in lowering the oxidative
DNA damage, thus preventing the prostate cancer risk (Shahar, et al., 2011). The mineral content
in dragon fruit includes calcium, which is believed to be beneficial for strong
bones and teeth, iron and phosphorous that help in tissue formation and blood
circulation. These positive effects from the fruits can be realized in numerous
ways from consolidated immune system to fewer respiratory problems. For the
seeds, dragon fruits’ seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and
omega-6 fatty acids) that reduce triglycerides and lower the risk of
cardiovascular diseases. The seeds oil is also used in medication as mild
laxative. Frequent consumption of dragon fruit can help in maintaining normal
body function such as removing from the body toxic heavy metals and improving
eyesight (Mercola, 2017). o

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast that is widely used in the making of
alcoholic beverages and baking goods. It is a eukaryotic microbe that has
globular shape, yellow-green color and belongs to the Fungi kingdom. In nature,
S. cerevisiae is mainly found on the
surfaces of plants and ripe fruits such as grapes, the gastrointestinal tracts
and body surfaces of insects and warm-blooded animals, soils from all regions
of the world and even in aquatic environments (Martini, 1992). S
cerevisiae can live in both aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions. Under
aerobic condition, the yeast undergoes respiration that uses oxygen to break
down glucose into carbon dioxide to produce ATP. In the absence of oxygen, it feeds
on carbohydrate sources such as glucose, maltose, fructose, galactose, etc.,
however, they cannot grow on lactose and cellobiose (Bekatorou, Psarianos, & Koutinas, 2006). In the food
industry, S. cerevisiae is used to
anaerobically convert sugars from their substrate into ethanol in alcoholic
beverages. Depending on different types of beverages, different ways of this
yeast fermentation is applied. In baking industry, S. cerevisiae acts as a leavening agent by releasing gases that
form holes and create soft structure of the baked goods. The yeast also works
as a probiotic that helps eliminate the potentially pathogenic bacteria
residing since it does not colonize the GI tract permanently.

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