Variations in fatty acid composition of neem seeds collected from the Rajasthan state of India

Biochem Soc Trans. 2000 Dec;28(6):880-2.


Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a multipurpose tree native to the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asian countries. Products derived from neem have been used for centuries, particularly in India, for medicinal and pest-management purposes. Azadirachtin and neem oil are the two major commercially important products derived from the tree. The oil contains palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids in good proportion. Although there is growing demand for quality planting material for plantation of neem, efforts are lacking for the selection of neem trees based on their biochemical composition. In the present study, 60 Neem seed samples were collected from different provinances of the Rajasthan state in India. These samples were analysed by GLC to study the variability of fatty acid composition. Significant variability in individual fatty acids was observed. The palmitic acid ranged from 16 to 34%, stearic acid from 6 to 24%, oleic acid from 25 to 58% and linoleic acid from 6 to 17%. This variability can be exploited for selection of trees and for studying the genetic variability in neem. These selections can also be utilized for genetic improvement of the tree.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / analysis*
  • India
  • Linoleic Acid / analysis
  • Palmitic Acid / analysis
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / genetics
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Stearic Acids / analysis
  • Trees*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Stearic Acids
  • Palmitic Acid
  • stearic acid
  • Linoleic Acid