Chemical composition and functional characterisation of commercial pumpkin seed oil

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


Background: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Condiments / analysis
  • Cucurbita / chemistry*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Ethnopharmacology
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Food Handling
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Italy
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Maillard Reaction
  • Nutritive Value
  • Odorants
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Slovenia
  • Vitamin E / analysis*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids