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Super fruit on board.

Famous explorers and seafarers of long ago are reputed to have valued the healing power of papaya during their South and Central America expeditions. The papaya fruit originated in Central America. Today Brazil is the second largest papaya producer in the world – 1.4 million tons are harvested annually. In 2017, papaya was one of the most popular fruit varieties transported by Lufthansa Cargo from Brazil to Frankfurt. One of the biggest customers is MHS International GmbH & Co. KG. The company uses “Fresh” from Lufthansa Cargo en route from Natal (NAT) in Brazil to Frankfurt/Main. Lufthansa Cargo flys the route twice a week, alternately with a MD-11F and a Boeing 777F. Natal is located in one of Brazil’s largest papaya-growing regions, so flying out of Natal makes for short transport routes. In October and November last year alone, 700 tons of papaya were carried on this route – the vitamin-rich fruit is much sought after during the European winter. As in the era of the voyages of discovery, papaya is still considered a super fruit. Papaya contains hardly any calories and fat, but large amounts of the enzyme papain. This substance helps digest protein and accelerates fat burning. In doing so it stimulates the metabolism and boosts the immune system.

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The papaya may give us strength, but it is itself very sensitive to external influences. To prevent damage, each papaya is therefore packed in shock-resistant foil right after being harvested. Delivery to Natal Airport is scheduled to take place as late as possible prior to departure to ensure an optimum transport temperature of between seven and ten degrees Celsius, depending on the degree of ripeness. At the destination at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the fruit is taken to the Perishable Center as quickly as possible, and then further cooled down, slowly and carefully. From there MHS International delivers the papaya to wholesale markets as well as to catering companies and delicatessen shops in Germany and Austria.

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The flesh of ripe papaya tastes juicy and sweet, with hints of melon and apricot. Like the melon, the orange-colored refresher can be consumed in various forms: simply as fruit, or as a tasty ingredient in smoothies or in savory salads. And by the way: most people who eat papaya discard the black, glossy, peppercornsized seeds. Yet the papain enzyme is also contained in those seeds. They can be dried and then ground, for example, and used as a pepper substitute.

Photos: iStock

Planet 2/2018