The Akee Tree

The akee (also spelled ackee) tree is native to West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean by African slaves. It was introduced to science by William Bligh, captain of the infamous sailing ship the Bounty, and its botanical name is (appropriately) Blighia sapida (the latter name from the Latin sapidus meaning "tasty"). A popular dish in the Caribbean consists of akee and salt fish.

"Akee, lice, salt fish are nice, And the rum is fine any time of year." —From the song Jamaica Farewell

(R.R. Head/Earth Scenes/Animals, Animals)

A Metabolite of Hypoglycin from Akee Fruit Inhibits Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase

The unripened fruit of the akee tree contains hypoglycin, a rare amino acid (Figure 24.14). Metabolism of hypoglycin yields methylenecyclopropylacetyl-CoA (MCPA-CoA). Acyl-CoA dehydrogenase will accept MCPA-CoA as a substrate,

FIGURE 24.14 • The conversion of hypo-glycin from akee fruit to a form that inhibits acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.

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