Lipid Fraction of Opuntia Ficus Indica Seeds

December 31/Science Letter -- "The lipid fraction of Opuntia ficus indica seeds was extracted and analyzed for its chemical and physical properties such as acid value, free fatty acid percentage (% FFA), iodine index, peroxide value, and saponification value as well as refractive index and density. The yield of seed oil was calculated as 11.75%," scientists writing in the journal Chemistry of Natural Compounds report).

"The acid and free fatty acid values indicated that the oil has a fairly low acidity. The triacylglycerols, fatty acids, sterols, and tocopherols were identified and their concentrations determined. The main TAGs were LLL (25.60%), OLL (21.53%), PLL (15.53%), and POL + SLL (12.73%). Linoleic acid (60.69%) was the dominant fatty acid, followed by oleic (21.42%) and palmitic (12.76%) acids, respectively. A high level of sterols making up 16.06 g/kg seed oil was present. The sterol marker, beta-sitosterol, accounted for 71.60% of the total sterol content in the seed oil," wrote I. Elmannoubi and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Among the tocopherols present in the oil, gamma-tocopherol (421.08 mg/kg) was the main constituent."

Elmannoubi and colleagues published their study in Chemistry of Natural Compounds ("Characterization of Opuntia ficus indica seed oil from Tunisia." Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 2009;45(5):616-620).

Additional information can be obtained by contacting I. Elmannoubi, Institute National Rech & Anal Physicochim, Sidi Thabet 2020, Tunisia.

From the January 4, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition