Characteristics of antioxidant activity and composition of pumpkin seed oils in 12 cultivars

Food Chem. 2013 Aug 15;139(1-4):155-61. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Feb 16.


The objective of this study was to determine the antioxidant properties, and provide characteristics, of the oil obtained from the seeds of 12 pumpkin varieties belonging to the species Cucurbita maxima Duch. and Cucurbita pepo L. Another objective was to establish which of the two extracting agents, ethanol or methanol, is more effective. The seeds of the pumpkin varieties examined differ in chemical composition and antioxidant activity. The seeds of the cultivars belonging to the species C. maxima are characterised by a higher content of fatty acids than are the cultivars of the species C. pepo. In the seed oil, unsaturated acids are dominant (oleic and linoleic), and their proportion depends on the pumpkin variety. The highest content of unsaturated acids has been measured in the oil extracted from the seeds of the cultivar, Jet F1 (C. pepo). Antioxidant activity analysis has produced the following findings. The seeds of the pumpkin varieties that belong to the species C. pepo exhibit better antioxidant properties, regardless of the extraction solvent used. 50% ethanol is more efficient than 80% methanol when used as an extracting agent. The antioxidant activity values obtained with 50% ethanol are higher than those achieved with 80% methanol. Owing to the considerable differences in composition among the fatty acids examined, it is possible to choose the desired pumpkin variety for the intended use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Cucurbita / chemistry*
  • Cucurbita / classification
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils