New sources of oilseeds from Latin American native fruits
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Three Latin American oilseeds obtained from native fruits: nopal (tuna) (Opuntia ficus-indica), cherimoya (chirimoya) (Annona cherimola), and papaya, Chilean variety (Carica pubescens or C. candamarcensis) were studied for their fatty acid composition and bioactive compounds, such as tocols and phytosterols, looking for new sources of special oilseeds for this region. The results indicated that each species represents an interesting possibility. Nopal oilseed is a good source of linoleic acid (62%), with a good balance between SFA and MUFA (1: 1.3). Cherimoya oilseed presents quite a different composition, with 24% SFA, 43% MUFA and 33% PUFA. Palmitic and stearic acids (15% and 7.6%, respectively) are the main SFA. A good balance between oleic acid (42.7%) and linoleic acid (31%) was observed. Papaya oilseed is a highly MUFA oil (72% with 71% oleic acid), with a very interesting composition, according to the new nutritional and technological recommendations.With respect to bioactive compounds, the main tocol in these three oilseeds was gamma-tocopherol, with 136, 300 and 317 mg/kg for cherimoya, papaya and nopal oilseeds, respectively. According to the total tocol content, papaya oilseed presented the highest value with 384 mg/kg. The total amount and distribution of phytosterols was different, with values of 3092, 3554 and 5474 mg/kg for nopal, cherimoya and papaya oilseeds, respectively, with beta-sitosterol forming 47.6%, 65.0 % and 78.7% of the total phytosterol fractions, respectively. From the results obtained, Chilean papaya oilseed can be considered as a very promising new source of special plant oil for different applications, followed by cherimoya and nopal oilseeds.