Cucurbit seeds: I. Characterizations and uses of oils and proteins. A review
- Cite this article as:
- Jacks, T.J., Hensarling, T.P. & Yatsu, L.Y. Econ Bot (1972) 26: 135. doi:10.1007/BF02860774
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Cucurbit seeds can be classified as oil seeds because decorticated seeds contain by weight 50% oil and 35% protein. The oil is unsaturated and generally edible; however, the contents of conjugated trienoic fatty acids in the oil of a few species preclude edibility but increase industrial values as drying oils. Proteins of cucurbit seeds appear edible and supplementation with certain amino acids increases the nutritional value of the protein. However, the possibility that a meal or protein from a given species might be inedible, e.g., through presence of a toxic compound in the seed, must be determined by appropriate feeding tests with the seed products.
Thus cucurbits are potentially valuable oilseed crops. Of special interest are certain xerophilous species that grow particularly well in desert regions. Propagation of these species on currently unproductive wastelands could provide an additional source of oil and protein for industrial and edible purposes.