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Chemical characterization of Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil

Salvo, F., Galati, E.M., Lo Curto, S., Tripodo, M.M.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.581 pp. 283-289
Opuntia ficus-indica, absorption, campesterol, fruit peels, hexane, iodine value, oleic acid, peroxide value, seed oils, seeds, stigmasterol, vegetable oil, wastes, Italy
Some quality parameters were evaluated in Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil samples obtained from fruit wastes harvested in S.Cono (Catania- Italy). The seeds (12-16% of the fruit peel) were submitted to hexane extraction, obtaining 8-9% oil, on seed dry weight. The tests carried out on this oil gave the following results: fatty acids content (as oleic acid): 2.5%, iodine number: Wijs (105.5), peroxide number (10meq O2/Kg), UV absorption: K232 = 3.15; K268 = 0.22; ΔK= + 0.01, all in agreement with the characteristics of other common vegetable oils. The acidic fraction revealed an high degree of unsaturation (82.3 %) with monounsatured and polyunsatured contents of 21.0 % and 61.3 %, respectively. The sterolic fraction was composed mainly of -sitosterol (61.4%), campesterol (16.5 %), stigmasterol (4.2 %) and other more unsatured sterols (6.2 %). Alcanolic fraction contained mainly hexacosanol (73.7%), along with low quantities of docosanol (10.7%) and octacosanol (8.1%) and smaller amounts of other components. Among triterpenic alcohols, the most abundant component was found to be 24-methylcycloarthenol (34.2%), followed by cycloarthenol (29.3%), and β-amyrin (2.2%). Based on these results, Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil appears to be a good potential source of alimentary oil.