Durian (Durio zibethinus) is a Southeast Asian tropical fruit that is knownfor its distinct and unique odor, sulfury aroma and appetizing taste thusmaking it the “King of Tropical Fruits”. This fruit can grow as large as 12inches long and 6 inches in diameter and typically weighs up to two to sevenpounds. Depending on the species, it can be round or oval, its husk green tobrown and its flesh pale yellow to red. Many locales compare this fruit to a perfumewith a very strong smell, while the foreigners coined the saying “smells likehell and tastes like heaven.” after all the smell is not that appealing foreveryone but rather irritating to some who are not used to it, describing it as”turpentine and onions garnished with gym sock, but upon tasting the insides ofdurian you’ll surely regret the feeling of disgust upon smelling the outerside. The famed naturalist Alfred Russel once remarked on durian: “the more youeat of it, the less you feel inclined to stop” and it is indeed true for the factthat many individuals really enjoy eating durian and chooses it as theirfavorite fruit.
It represents the third plant genus in the Malvales order andfirst in the Helicteroideae subfamily. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Durianis extensively growing in tropical regions, like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia,and the Philippines as major producers. The tree also grows in northernAustralia, some South American countries, and Africa.” This fruit is not onlyan edible fruit, it is also used as a natural supplement in health diets.
Likethe other tropical fruits such as watermelon, banana and jackfruit, durian isrich in energy, vitamins and minerals offering us water, protein,phytonutrients and beneficial fats, while very low in cholesterol and sodium. Abalanced intake of durian is said to positively improve digestion,cardiovascular health, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and anemia. Durian, agreat source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper, is very helpful inenhancing bone health; also, its antioxidant properties is a good way toregulate aging. A study conducted as described in a European Journal ofIntegrative Medicine done in 2011 in rats concluded that at different stages ofripening, a durian can constitute a level of excellence as a source ofeffective natural compounds with antioxidants and health-protective activity ingeneral, as a proof polyphenols and flavonoids were found with significantlyhigher percentage in overripe varieties. While most of the said health benefitsmostly relies mostly in its flesh as a source, studies also see the ability ofits shell to contain healing properties when processed into an extract. Asdescribed by A Journal of Southern Medical University in 2010, durian shellextract could serve as an excellent source of natural alternative to drugs likeacetaminophen and penicillin. About2000 years ago, nearly two million metric tons of fuel wood and charcoal are consumed daily in thedeveloping countries, about one kilogram each day for every man, woman, andchild. Some of the woods are converted into charcoal but most is burned directly.
Although the energy obtained represents only about 10% of the energy consumedworldwide, nearly half of the world’s people absolutely depend on it to cooktheir food, heat their homes and water, and produce marketable goods. Fuel woodand charcoal derived from wood, along with animal dung and agriculturalresidues provide over half of the total energy consumed in some 60-70developing nations. This fuel supplies as much as 95% of the domestic energy inthese countries, as well as making a significant contribution to commercial andindustrial needs. Davao city is known for its agricultural resourcesparticularly durian. The demand of durian among locals and tourist is such thatthe city is left with trucks of durian wastes.
One remedy to this problem isthe establishment of a community-based project involving charcoal productionout of durian wastes. Charcoal production is not only a timely practicalproject for people living in Davao, but it is also a push for environment.Most of us know that the Philippines isone of the underprivileged countries in this world. But most of Filipinos useexpensive technology like gas stove and electric stove for cooking.
And most ofus know that using technology have disadvantages to our lives. “Exposure in gascan lead to intolerance and adverse reactions both to it and other substancesin our environment.”(Malouf and Wimberly, 2011).
To lessen these cases, the researchers, agroup of Senior High school students enrolled in the STEM (Science technologyand Engineering) strand of Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga city,are also interested in a certain property of the durian’s shell, though it’s alittle bit of a simpler one – it’s capability of being an alternative source ofcharcoal. In the Philippines, a country with a still developing economy, usingcharcoal for cooking is something that is not new to everyone, it still quitean active industry despite the blossoming of the Petrol gas technology.