Phytosterol, Squalene, Tocopherol Content and Fatty Acid Profile of Selected Seeds, Grains, and Legumes

Abstract

The unsaponifiable lipid fraction of plant-based foods is a potential source of bioactive components such as phytosterols, squalene, and tocopherols. The objective of the present study was to determine the levels of phytosterols, and squalene, as well as tocopherols (α and β + γ) in selected grains, seeds, and legumes. The method comprised acid hydrolysis and lipid extraction followed by alkaline saponification, prior to analysis by HPLC. In addition, the fatty acid profile of the foods was determined via total lipid extraction, fatty acid derivitisation and GC analysis. In general, β-sitosterol was the most prevalent phytosterol, ranging in concentration from 24.9 mg/100 g in pumpkin seed to 191.4 mg/100 g in peas. Squalene identified in all foods examined in this study, was particularly abundant in pumpkin seed (89.0 mg/100 g). The sum of α- and β+ γ-tocopherols ranged from 0.1 mg/100 g in rye to 15.9 mg/100 g in pumpkin seeds. Total oil content ranged from 0.9% (w/w) in butter beans to 42.3% (w/w) in pumpkin seed and the type of fat, in all foods examined, was predominantly unsaturated. In conclusion, seeds, grains, and legumes are a rich natural source of phytosterols. Additionally, they contain noticeable amounts of squalene and tocopherols, and in general, their fatty acid profile is favorable.

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Abbreviations

CHD:

coronary heart disease

FAME:

fatty acid methyl esters

GC:

gas chromatography

HPLC:

high performance liquid chromatography

LDL:

low-density lipoprotein

MUFA:

monounsaturated fatty acids

ND:

not detected

NMK:

nitrosaminoketone

PUFA:

polyunsaturated fatty acids

SCE:

sister chromatid exchange

SFA:

saturated fatty acids

Tr:

trace

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Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by Enterprise Ireland Basic Research Grant.

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Correspondence to N. M. O’Brien.

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Ryan, E., Galvin, K., O’Connor, T.P. et al. Phytosterol, Squalene, Tocopherol Content and Fatty Acid Profile of Selected Seeds, Grains, and Legumes. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 62, 85–91 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-007-0046-8

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Keywords

  • Phytosterols
  • Squalene
  • Tocopherols
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Cereals