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Roasted date palm seeds (Phoenix dactylifera) as an alternative coffee: chemical composition and bioactive properties

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Less used date palm fruits, as Bouhattam variety, are being converted into coffee through a roasting thermal process. Therefore, laboratory assays were conducted to investigate chemical and cytotoxic proprieties of this commercial coffee. Mineral content determination showed that roasted seeds of Bouhattam were a source of K+ and Ca2+. Date seed powder was fractionated successively using organic solvents of increasing polarity (cyclohexane, CYHA; dichloromethane, DCM; and methanol, MeOH). While the best yield was recorded for CYHA fraction, the MeOH extract showed the strongest antioxidant activity associated with highest total polyphenol content (TPC) (56.7 mg eq GAE/g dry wt). LC-MS analysis revealed that two major phenolic compounds were identified in methanolic extract: protocatechic acid (67.6 mg/100 g dry wt), which is generally found in tea and quinic acid (39.5 mg/100 g dry wt), known as the main compound of coffee beans. Vitamin E was identified only in the MeOH extract and vitamin K1 was identified in DCM and CYHA ones. GC-MS data showed that the roasted date seed coffee was decaffeinated, and the most volatile compounds were identified as fatty acids in the CYHA extract. All tested organic extracts against MCF-7 and HCT-116 cell lines displayed lower cytotoxicity. Taken together, obtained results argued that roasted seed powder of Bouhattam variety is an excellent decaffeinated beverage enriched with polyphenols and vitamins concomitant with high antioxidant potential and lower cytotoxicity.

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Dulbecco’s modified Eagle medium


Dimethyl sulfoxide


1-1-Diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl

dry wt:

Dry weight


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


Human colon cancer


Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry


Milli absorbance unit




Human breast cancer


National Institute of Standards and Technology


Roswell Park Memorial Institute


Total phenolic content


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We thank the central laboratory of Arid Land Institute of Médenine for their technical assistance.


This work has been supported financially by the Tunisian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, which provided a Master scholarship to the student Souda Belaid.

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Experiments and the manuscript writing were done by Belaid Souda, under the direction of co-authors. Debouba Mohamed and Bouajila Jalloul validated the experiments and proofread and refined the manuscript to be ready for publication. Rahmani Rami performed the GC-MS and statistical analysis.

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Correspondence to Bouajila Jalloul or Debouba Mohamed.

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Souda, B., Rami, R., Jalloul, B. et al. Roasted date palm seeds (Phoenix dactylifera) as an alternative coffee: chemical composition and bioactive properties. Biomass Conv. Bioref. 12, 3771–3781 (2022).

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