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J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Mar 30;93(5):1035-41. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5843. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Chemical composition and functional characterisation of commercial pumpkin seed oil.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Trieste, P.zle Europa 1, I-34127 Trieste, Italy.



Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seed oil is a common product in Slovenia, Hungary and Austria and is considered a preventive agent for various pathologies, particularly prostate diseases. These properties are related to its high content of carotenoids and liposoluble vitamins. In this study the carotenoid (lutein and zeaxanthin), vitamin E (α- and γ-tocopherol) and fatty acid contents of 12 samples of commercial pumpkin seed oil were investigated together with the composition of the volatile fraction resulting from the roasting process.


The aromatic profile obtained from the commercial samples was directly related to the intensity of the roasting process of the crushed pumpkin seeds. The roasting temperature played a crucial role in the concentrations of volatile substances originating from Strecker degradation, lipid peroxidation and Maillard reaction.


The findings suggest that high-temperature roasting leads to the production of an oil with intense aromatic characteristics, while mild conditions, generally employed to obtain an oil with professed therapeutic characteristics, lead to a product with minor characteristic pumpkin seed oil aroma. The nutraceutical properties of the product are confirmed by the high content of α- and γ-tocopherol and carotenoids.

© 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

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