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Sterol content in sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus L.) as affected by genotypes and environmental conditions

Roche, Jane, Alignan, Marion, Bouniols, Andrée, Cerny, Muriel, Mouloungui, Zephirin, Vear, Félicity, Merah, Othmane
Food chemistry 2010 v.121 no.4 pp. 990-995
sterols, sunflower seed products, Helianthus annuus, food analysis, food composition, genotype, environmental factors, genetic variation, fatty acid composition, functional foods, biosynthesis
Phytosterols play essential roles in many plant cell mechanisms. They are of industrial interest since, as part of the diet, they can reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol. An increase in plant sterol contents, by improved crop varieties or crop management, could help to answer industrial demands and also to develop environmentally friendly extraction methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate genotypic variability of sterol content in cultivated sunflower and, in particular, effects of sowing date. Results showed large variability among a collection of sixteen sunflower inbred lines and hybrids. Total sterols varied almost twofold between extreme genotypes. A delay of sowing, giving higher temperatures during seed formation, induced a general increase in total sterol concentration by up to 35%, as well as variation in sterol composition according to genotype. These results are considered with an aim of improving sterol content by sunflower breeding programmes.