papaya image by Freeze Frame Photography from

A compound that helps digestion, papain is a common ingredient used in meat tenderizers. Papain also treats wool before dyeing and removes hair from hides before tanning. People also use papain to treat arthritis, ulcers, swelling and fever.


Papain appears in a few fruits, including kiwi and avocado. The fruit that contains the most papain is the papaya.

Papaya Trees

Female and hermaphrodite papaya trees produce cruder papain compared to male trees. Various papaya cultivars also produce different quantities of papain.

Papaya Fruits

According to Cornell University, older papaya fruits contain more papain compared to younger fruits. However, the papain in younger fruit extracts is more active.

About the Author

Edriaan Koening

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.