Massoia Tree: Parts and Applications




Massoia tree (Cryptocarya massoia) is classified as Lauraceae family. This tree is widely grown in Papua (especially West Papua) as endemic plant. This tree can grow up to 30 meters of height with the 5-15 mm thick of its bark have an aromatic properties [1]. It is known that the chemical component in this tree have been used extensively as traditional medicines, in fact that the chemical contituents to consist mostly of pyrones and styrylpyrones that is used as anticancer, larvicidal, and antifertility activities [2].


Parts of the massoia tree


The bark of massoia tree have a greenish to light grey color. The bark is usually peeled (or known as debarking) from the log using a knife. The quality of the bark can be tested if the hard scratching using nails towards the bark show a dark line and the liquid appears, otherwise the tree is aged and dry [1]. The good quality of massoia bark oil can contain >60% of C10 massoia lactone, >15% of C12 massoia lactone, and benzyl benzoate up to 13%, and this also depends on the location where the tree is grown. The oil from its heartwood reported to have high concentration of C10 massoia lactone and C12 massoia lactone, and no benzyl benzoate is detected in this part. Interestingly, C14 massoia lactone and delta dodecalactone are also present in the heartwood oil of massoia tree in a trace amount (<2.5%) [2].


Besides the bark, massoia tree leaves and flowers are part of massoia tree that is less explored by the community. The leaves are ovate and circular, where the flowers have elliptical-shaped petals with yellow to green color. The leaves are usually being processed and used to fill the pillow by the local fisherman to get warmer, as well as coloring agent for Batik clothes and other warming ointment [1].

The fruit of massoia tree consists of two layers, exocarp and endocarp, and it is classified as single fruit (one fruit contains one seed). The fruit can be obtained up to 3000 pieces per massoia tree. Young fruit tends to have green color while the aged fruit is black. The seedling process of massoia tree needs the fruit which then being peeled and germinated. It is stated that good seeds show a dark color that being taken directly from the tree [1]. In contrast with the bark and heartwood part of massoia tree, the oil from massoia tree fruit contains high percentage of benzyl benzoate (65-70%), where the massoia lactone of C10 and C12 is less than 2% [2]. According to the high percentage of benzyl benzoate, the fruit of massoia tree can be explored in the future as benzyl benzoate is widely used in medicinal agent especially in skin disease [3].


The application of each part of massoia tree is summarized in table below [1,3]:


[1]https://www.forclime.org/documents/Books/2020-10-08_Overview Massoi_Melanesia Boseren.pdf

[2]molecules-12-00149.pdf (nih.gov)

[3]Safety Assessment of Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid and its Salts, and Benzyl Benzoate (sagepub.com)


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