Determination of fatty acid composition and metallic element content of four Camellia species used for edible oil extraction in China

  • Yongqing Cao
  • Xiaohua Yao
  • Huadong Ren
  • Kailiang Wang
Short communication


Camellia oleifera, C. meiocarpa, C. yuhsienensis, and C. chekiangoleosa originate from China and are important non-timber trees used for the production of edible oil in South China. The oils extracted from these four Camellia species from two locations in Zhejiang Province were analyzed for fatty acid composition and metallic element content. The predominant fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acid content were similar, whereas the fatty acid composition in the crude oil extracts was quite different among the four Camellia species examined. The lowest oleic acid content and the highest palmitic and linoleic acids content were found in the oil extract of C. yuhsienensis. The content of metallic elements in the crude camellia oil extract considerably varied among the four Camellia species, and they were found in the following decreasing order: Al > Mg > Ca > Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu. The content of these metallic elements was higher in the crude oil extracts of C. yuhsienensis and C. meiocarpa than in those of C. oleifera and C. chekiangoleosa. More than 90% of metallic elements were removed by refining after alkalizing, washing, and decolorization steps.


Camellia species Fatty acid Metallic elements Refining 



This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 31600551). The authors thank Dr. Yaping Wang for help with the camellia seeds collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongqing Cao
    • 1
  • Xiaohua Yao
    • 1
  • Huadong Ren
    • 1
  • Kailiang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute of Subtropical ForestryChinese Academy of ForestryHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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