As the search for alternative sources of food to alleviate hunger continues, this study was undertaken to determine the fat content and the fatty acid composition of 15 lesser-known wild tropical seeds gathered in Nigeria. Results were contrasted with five tropical soybean varieties (Glycine max). The fat content varies from less than 1% (Pterocarpus santalinoides, Daniellia ogea) to 59% (Entandrophragma angolense). The fatty acid composition of most of the wild and mostly leguminous seeds differed considerably, compared to the composition of tropical soybeans. The oil of Adansonia digitata, Prosopis africana, Afzelia lebbeck, Enterolobium cyclocarpium, and Sesbania pachycarpa contained high proportions of linoleic and oleic acid as well as palmitic and linolenic acid. Seeds of Milletia thonningii, Lonchocarpus sericeus, and S. pachycarpa were much higher in linolenic acid and relatively poor in linoleic acid, compared to soybeans. The content of saturated fatty acids was higher than that of soybeans, resulting in lower polyunsaturated/saturated (P/S) ratios (0.83–2.12) than observed in soybeans (P/S=3.4), with the exception of the composition of S. pachycarpa (P/S=3.15). Some of these less familiar wild seeds could be used as sources for industrial or edible oils, provided that possible toxic constituents could be removed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Mandal, B., G.S. Majumdar, and C.R. Maity, Chemical and Nutritional Evaluation of Pongamia glabra Oil and Acacia auriculaeformis Oil, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 61:1447–1449 (1984).
Eromosele, I.C., C.O. Eromosele, A.O. Akintoye, and T.O. Komolafe, Characterization of Oils and Chemical Analysis of the Seeds of Wild Plants, Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 46:361–365 (1994).
Lucini, E.I., N.R. Grosso, A.L. Lamarque, D.M. Maestri, J.A. Zygadlo, and C.A. Guzman, Seed Lipid Components of Solanum argentinum, J. Agric. Food Chem. 42:2743–2745 (1994).
Wolfram, G., ω-3 and ω-6 Fettsäuren: Biochemische Besonderheiten und Biologische Wirkungen, Fat Sci. Technol. 12:459–468 (1989).
Kinsella, J.E., B. Lokesh, and R.A. Stone, Dietary n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Amelioration of Cardiovascular Disease: Possible Mechanisms, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 52:1–28 (1990).
Harris, W.S., n-3 Fatty Acids and Serum Lipoproteins: Human Studies, Ibid.:S1645-S1654 (1997).
Jenkins, D.J.A., G.S. Wong, R. Pattern, J. Bird, M. Hall, G.C. Buckley, V. McGuire, R. Reichert, and J.A. Little, Leguminous Seeds in the Dietary Management of Hyperlipidemia, Ibid.:567–573 (1983).
Goode, G.K., J.P. Miller, and A.M. Heagerty, Hyperlipidaemia, Hypertension, and Coronary Heart Disease, Lancet 345:362–364 (1995).
Oshodi, A.A., Amino Acid and Fatty Acid Composition of Adenopus breviflorus Benth Seed, Internat. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 47:295–298 (1996).
AOAC, Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 15th edn., edited by K. Helrich, AOAC, Inc., Arlington (1990).
Schulte, E., and K. Weber, Schnelle Herstellung der Fettsäuremethylester aus Fetten mit Trimethylsulfoniumhydroxid oder Natriummethylat, Fat Sci. Technol. 91:181–183 (1989).
Ezeagu, I.E., C.C. Metges, J. Proll, K.J. Petzke, and A.O. Akinsoyinu, Chemical Composition and Nutritive Value of Some Wild-Gathered Tropical Plant Seeds, Food Nutr. Bull. 17:275–278 (1996).
Peng, A.C., Fatty Acids in Vegetables and Vegetable Products, in Fatty Acids in Foods and Their Health Implications, edited by C.K. Chow, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1992, pp. 185–236.
Hammond, E.G., Genetic Alterations of Food Fats and Oils, in Ibid.,, edited by C.K. Chow, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1992, pp. 313–327.
Paul, A.A., and D.A.T. Southgate, Nuts, in The Composition of Foods, 5th edn., McCane and Widdowsen’s, Royal Society of Chemistry, London, 1991, p. 318.
White, P.J., Fatty Acids in Oilseeds (Vegetable Oils), in Fatty Acids in Foods and Their Health Implications, edited by C.K. Chow, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1992, pp. 237–262.
Berdanier, C.D., Fatty Acids and Membrane Function, in Ibid.,, edited by C.K. Chow, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, pp. 531–544 (1992).
Ackman, R.G., Fatty Acids in Fish and Shellfish, in Ibid.,, edited by C.K. Chow, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, pp. 169–184 (1992).
Obizoba, I.C., and J.U. Anyika, Nutritive Value of Baobab Milk (Gubdi) and Mixtures of Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) and Hungry Rice, Acha (Digitaria exilis) Flours, Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 46:157–165 (1994).
Achi, O.K., Microorganisms Associated with Natural Fermentation of Prosopis africana Seeds for the Production of Okpiye, Ibid.:297–304 (1992).
Keay, R.W.J., in Trees of Nigeria, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1989).
About this article
Cite this article
Ezeagu, I.E., Petzke, K.J., Lange, E. et al. Fat content and fatty acid composition of oils extracted from selected wild-gathered tropical plant seeds from Nigeria. J Am Oil Chem Soc 75, 1031–1035 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-998-0282-6
- Fat content
- fatty acid composition
- legume seeds
- linolenic acid
- tropical seeds