Maçaranduba (FAO, NWFP 6)

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Coppen, Gums, resins and latexes of plant origin, 1995

  • Extract from : NWFP 6. Coppen J.J.W., 1995. Gums, resins and latexes of plant origin. FAO, Rome. 142 p. (Non-Wood Forest Products, 6). on line





Sometimes described as an inferior balata, maçaranduba is collected as a latex from trees of the same genus as genuine balata (Manilkara).

Maçaranduba, like sorva, has been used mainly for chewing gum manufacture, though in slightly different formulations.



With the development of synthetic gums for making chewing gum, the international market for maçaranduba has declined sharply.

In the 1950s, recorded exports from Brazil, the major producer, were around 300-400 tormes/year; most of it went to the United States. More recent data (from the early 1980s onwards, including that shown in Table 37) are somewhat incomplete but indicate exports of less than 10 tonnes/year for most years. Unofficial, trade sources indicate that the level of exports in the early 1990s has been around 20-30 tonnes annually.

Levels of exports from other countries in the region, if any, are not known.

Use of natural gums by the Brazilian chewing gum industry is believed to be very small, and no significant shift in this direction is anticipated which would offer prospects for substantial increases in domestic consumption of maçaranduba.

Supply sources

Table 37 indicates a general decline in Brazilian production over the last decade or so, and by 1990 it was only just over 100 tonnes. Data from earlier years suggest that production peaked in 1965, at around 1 000 tonnes. Since 1982, all recorded production of maçaranduba in Brazil, like balata, has come from Pará state.

Production in other countries is not known but it is likely to be small.

Quality and prices

Magaranduba has a lower trans polyisoprene (gutta) content than genuine balata, about 25%, and this accounts for its description as inferior balata. Its value (and price) is therefore assumed to be lower than that of balata and this is borne out by Brazilian export values for consignments shipped in the early 1980s: the unit value of balata was approximately 1.5-2.0 times that of maçaranduba.



Botanical/common names

Family Sapotaceae:

MORS and RIZZINI (1966) regard Manilkara huberi as a synonym of Manilkara elata (Fr. All.) Monac.

Description and distribution

Manilkara huberi, which is generally considered to be the source of maçaranduba, is a tall Amazonian tree, up to 40 m or more in height.


Methods of collection of maçaranduba are the same as those described earlier for balata, and primary processing is performed in the same way as for sorva and balata, with the latex being turned into balls and blocks.

In Brazil, traders' perceptions of how the latex is collected in the forest differ (COPPEN et al., 1994). Some believe that earlier, destructive methods of obtaining the latex have given way to those involving tapping, while others explain that, unlike sorva and balata, which can be tapped, maçaranduba is always obtained by first felling the tree. This may be related, however, to the fact that the wood of Manilkara huberi is very resistant to fungal attack and so highly valued as a source of timber.

In Brazil, the final processing and export of maçaranduba, like sorva, is concentrated in the hands of one or two Manaus-based companies. These companies notify traders based in small river towns of their need for certain products. Such traders, in turn, finance extractivists for a period of up to several months to search for the commodity in question. The costs of this search, and of looking after the families whilst the men are away, are met by the middleman as a partial advance payment for the commodity.


There is very little published information on yields from Manilkara huberi. OLIVEIRA et al. (1992) state that tapping is carried out at intervals of two years, yielding an annual equivalent of 1 kg of maçaranduba per tree.


As was indicated for balata, no value-added processing is believed to have ever been carried out at source on maçaranduba.


The fruits of Manilkara huberi are edible and are sometimes found in local markets (in Belém, in Brazil, for example).


As noted above, the timber is also highly valued. Maçaranduba wood is very dense and resistant to biodeterioration, and is used for making railway sleepers.


The poor market prospects for maçaranduba and the low yields of latex obtained (at infrequent intervals in its native state), mean that Manilkara huberi has very little potential in developmental terms. It is unlikely that any investment in research would lead to a more favourable conclusion.


  • ALTMAN, R.F.A. (1955) [Analysis of magaranduba latex from Manilkara huberi] (in Portuguese). Boletim Tecnico do Instituto Agro Norte, 31, 81-95.
  • COPPEN, J.J.W., GORDON, A. and GREEN, C.L. (1994) The developmental potential of selected Amazonian non-wood forest products: an appraisal of opportunities and constraints. Paper presented at the FAO Expert Consultation Meeting on Non-Wood Forest Products, Santiago, Chile, 4-8 July.
  • LESCURE, J.P. (1995) [Extractivism in Amazonia. Viability and Development] (in French). Final Project Report. ORSTOM/INPA/Aarhus University.
  • LESCURE, J.P. and CASTRO, A. (1990) [Extractivism in central Amazonia. An outline of economic and botanical aspects] (in French). Paper presented at UNESCO-IUFRO-FAO Workshop "L'Aménagement et la Conservation de l'Ecosystème Forestier Tropical Humide", Cayenne, 10-19 May.
  • MORS, W.B. and RIZZINI, C.T. (1966) Latex-yielding plants. pp 1-12. In Useful Plants of Brazil. San Francisco/London: Holden-Day.
  • OLIVEIRA, FA., MARQUES, L.C.T. and FERREIRA, C.A.P. (1992) [Non-Wood Products of the National Forest of Tapajos, Santarem, Para, Brazil] (in Portuguese). Preliminary report TCP/BRA/0154/FAO for IBAMA. 20 pp.


Table 37. Macaranduba: production and exports from Brazil, 1978 and 1986-92 (tonnes)
1978 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
Production 451 376 298 192 127 116 na na
Exports na 3 - - - - na na

Source: National statistics (taken from COPPEN et al., 1994, and LESCURE, 1995)