Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 277–283 | Cite as

Characterization of a Potential Nutraceutical Ingredient: Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) Seed Oil Unsaponifiable Fraction

  • Augusta Caligiani
  • Francesca Bonzanini
  • Gerardo Palla
  • Martina Cirlini
  • Renato BruniEmail author
Original Paper


The chemical fingerprinting of the unsaponifiable fraction of different Punica granatum seed oils was performed in order to evaluate their potential as a functional food ingredient. Qualitative and quantitative determinations of tocopherol, aliphatic alcohol (including policosanol), squalene, phytosterols and triterpene contents were performed by GC-MS. A high yield (3.1–4.2%) of unsaponifiable matter was obtained and consistent levels of squalene (up to 800 mg/kg) and policosanol (118–185 mg/kg) were noticed. β-sitosterol (up to 8069 mg/kg) and cycloartenol (5916–7766 mg/kg) were predominant in phytosterol and triterpene fractions, while β- and δ-tocopherol were the most abundant vitamin E forms. Some minor variations were noticed between samples. From the results obtained, it can be suggested that the seed oil of P. granatum can be considered an interesting alimentary source of substances of nutraceutical value involved in the modulation of cholesterol metabolism.


Functional food Phytosterols Policosanols Punica granatum Squalene Unsaponifiable 


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Copyright information

© rsulSpringer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augusta Caligiani
    • 1
  • Francesca Bonzanini
    • 1
  • Gerardo Palla
    • 1
  • Martina Cirlini
    • 1
  • Renato Bruni
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Chimica Organica e IndustrialeUniversità degli Studi di ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e Funzionale – Sezione di Biologia VegetaleUniversità degli Studi di ParmaParmaItaly

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