Moringa oleifera Lam (Moringaceae) is a plant with high nutritional and medicinal value. Native to India, it is now widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Its different parts are sources of proteins, vitamins and minerals and present different pharmacological and biotechnological potential. Moreover, M. oleifera seeds are widely used in water and effluent treatment, for their coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation properties, their ability of improving water quality, by reducing organic matter and microbial load, with special applicability in intensive animal production systems, such as aquaculture. In addition, due to its high nutritional value and several medicinal properties, this tree may act as a nutritional and medical alternative for socially neglected populations. In this context, this review gathers information on M. oleifera, emphasizing its chemical constituents, nutritional, pharmacological and antimicrobial properties, applications in the treatment of water effluents, and ecological and social aspects.

Final considerations :This review summarized the recent research advances for the use and applications of M. oleifera extracts in different areas of biosciences, demonstrating the versatility of this plant. Based on the scientific reports, M. oleifera is an inexpensive, eco-friendly and socially beneficial alternative, especially for the socially neglected population, suffering from poverty and malnutrition and for those who have limited access to technological resources.

Raimunda Sâmia Nogueira Brilhante , Jamille Alencar Sales , Vandbergue Santos Pereira , Débora de Souza Collares Maia Castelo-Branco , Rossana de Aguiar Cordeiro , Célia Maria de Souza Sampaio , Manoel de Araújo Neto Paiva , João Bosco Feitosa Dos Santos , José Júlio Costa Sidrim , Marcos Fábio Gadelha Rocha (PMID: 28870337 DOI: 10.1016/j.apjtm.2017.07.002)