This study aimed to present a literature review about the characteristics, applications, and potential of avocado (Persea americana). Avocado is considered one of the main tropical fruits, as it contains fat-soluble vitamins which are less common in other fruits, besides high levels of protein, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids. Avocado pulp contains variable oil content, and is widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, and in the production of commercial oils similar to olive oil. This fruit has been recognized for its health benefits, especially due to the compounds present in the lipidic fraction, such as omega fatty acids, phytosterols, tocopherols and squalene. Studies have shown the benefits of avocado associated to a balanced diet, especially in reducing cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular diseases. The processed avocado pulp is an alternative to utilize fruits, which can be used in various value-added food products. Fluid extract of the avocado leaves is widely used in pharmaceutical products, mainly due to the diuretic characteristic of the present compounds in plant leaves. With the increasing research supporting the nutritional characteristics and benefits of avocado, the tendency is to increase the production and exploitation of this raw material in Brazil, as also observed in other countries.
avocado tree; avocado oil; unsaturated fatty acid; bioactive compounds