Sesame: Bioactive Compounds and Health Benefits

  • Niti Pathak
  • Asani Bhaduri
  • Ashwani K RaiEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


Sesame is a valuable oilseed crop that contains various nutritionally rich bioactive compounds including lignans, tocopherol homologues, phytosterols, etc. Lignans are the product of oxidative coupling of β-hydroxyphenylpropane. Sesame has a combination of glycosylated lignans and oil-dispersed lignans. Based on their medicinal and pharmacological properties, the most important lignans are sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin, and sesaminol. Tocopherols (vitamin E compounds) are the lipid-soluble free radicals and constitute a major part of human diet. In sesame seeds, α-, γ-, and δ-tocopherols are found as tocopherol homologues. In addition to lignans and tocopherols, sesame is an important source of phytosterols, phytates, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and bioactive peptides. However, utilization potential of many of these compounds has not yet been fully understood. This chapter delves into the presence of multifarious bioactive components in sesame seeds, their biosynthetic pathway, and functional importance.


Bioactive compounds Sesame Sesamin Sesamolin Sesamol Pinoresinol Tocopherol Phytosterols 



Sesamin synthase


Dirigent protein




Tocopherol cyclase


γ-Tocopherol methyltransferase



Ashwani K Rai gratefully acknowledges the National Academy of Sciences, India, for awarding NASI-Senior Scientist Platinum Jubilee Fellowship. Niti Pathak wishes to thank Dr. K V Bhat, NBPGR for the work carried out in his lab.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Deshbandhu CollegeUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Cluster Innovation CentreUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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