26 February 2021

Why coconut water is both a biostimulant and an anti-cancer agent.

Reyes Estevez, Estefany, - Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2021


Coconut water (CW) naturally contains phytohormones called cytokinins, which exist in
different forms like kinetin, kinetin riboside and zeatin. The bioactive cytokinins in plants are
the zeatin-type, and these natural compounds exert many vital plant physiological effects.
Nutrient media based on CW is effective in augmenting nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress
tolerance and crop quality in soil-cultivated, as well as in micropropagated plants. Moreover,
CW is increasingly being utilized as a natural biofertilizer in crop cultivation to obtain better
produce. This is because the natural cytokinins in CW increase the total available pool of
cytokinins for plant growth when added to the roots. In addition to photosynthesis, cytokinins
guide the appropriate development of meristems and cell cycle rates according to the growth
environment, utilizing minerals as building blocks.
Interestingly, these plant cytokinins also have important effects on human and other animal
cells. Being rich in minerals (mainly potassium but also magnesium, calcium, and sodium),
makes CW good for replenishing dehydration as well. Treatments with CW have presented
other beneficial medical effects because of their specific cytokinin (kinetin and kinetin riboside)
content. Targeting malignant cells and consequently acting anti-proliferatively, as well as
inducing apoptosis, gives them the potential of becoming key therapeutic ingredients in treating
and preventing various types of human cancers, thrombosis as well as signs of aging
(cosmetics). Although, it is possible that, equivalent to plants, a conversion to zeatin-type
cytokinins is required for the kinetin-type to have positive biological function in humans. This
concludes that further research on the plant cytokinin-biosynthesis and metabolic pathways in
humans is needed.

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