, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 406-413
Date: 30 Apr 2009

Chemical evaluation of seeded fruit biomass of oil pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L. var. Styriaca)

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Abstract

Oil pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L. var. Styriaca) is an economically important horticultural plant cultivated for oil production. After harvesting seeds, the residual biomass has a limited application and is usually left in the field. An experimental study was performed to evaluate the chemical composition of the seeded fruit oil pumpkin biomass (OP) dried by solvent-exchange using ethanol. The sugar composition of polysaccharides obtained by sequential extraction with water and dilute alkali indicated the prevalence of pectic polysaccharides. Hemicelulloses were released in higher amounts in the alkaline step. The chemical composition of OP and its individual tissues (peel, flesh and hairy flesh) was investigated and compared to the corresponding preparations of standard pumpkin (SP, Cucurbita pepo L.). The content of components (on oven-dry basis), calculated from the analysis data of the individual tissues, was estimated for OP: 7.9 % ash, 7.6 % Klason lignin, 19.3 % pectin (as uronic acids), 34.1 % neutral carbohydrates, and 27.4 % α-cellulose and for SP: 6.4 % ash, 4.0 % Klason lignin, 20.9% pectin (as uronic acids), 38.1% neutral carbohydrates, and 29.2 % α-cellulose, respectively. The OP biomass showed a higher proportion of hemicelluloses.