Fatty acid, tocopherol and phytosterol composition of cucurbit seeds grown in Marlborough, New Zealand.
Cucurbits are a group of plants that can grow well with irrigation in hot dry conditions. In New Zealand cucurbits are grown mostly for their edible flesh, however in other countries they are prized for their tasty oil containing seeds. Edible seeds harvested from cucurbits have a large range of uses, from either being consumed directly or as a filler in soups. The extracted seed oil can be used as a cooking or salad oil or as a condiment in foods. Recent research has shown that the composition of the oil extracted from cucurbit seeds contains a wide range of nutrients and fatty acids. It has been reported that the seed oil contains high but variable phytosterol and antioxident contents. It is possible that the nutritional content of these interesting seed oils is affected by cultivar type and its interaction with environmental effects. It is also possible that the post harvesting processing of the seeds and the oils may affect the nutrient composition.... [Show full abstract]