Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis): a seed source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols, phytosterols, phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity

Food Chem. 2013 Dec 1;141(3):1732-9. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.04.078. Epub 2013 May 3.


Fatty acids (FA), phytosterols, tocopherols, phenolic compounds, total carotenoids and hydrophilic and lipophilic ORAC antioxidant capacities were evaluated in 16 cultivars of Sacha inchi (SI) seeds with the aim to valorise them and offer more information on the functional properties of SI seeds. A high α linolenic (α-Ln) fatty acid content was found in all cultivars (ω3, 12.8-16.0 g/100 g seed), followed by linoleic (L) fatty acid (ω6, 12.4-14.1g/100g seed). The ratio ω6/ω3 was within the 0.83-1.09 range. γ- and δ-tocopherols were the most important tocopherols, whereas the most representative phytosterols were β-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Contents of total phenolics, total carotenoids and hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacities ranged from 64.6 to 80 mg of gallic acid equivalent/100g seed; from 0.07 to 0.09 mg of β-carotene equivalent/100g of seed; from 4.3 to 7.3 and, from 1.0 to 2.8 μmol of Trolox equivalent/g of seed, respectively, among the evaluated SI cultivars. Results showed significant differences (p<0.05) among the evaluated SI cultivars in the contents of ω3, ω6, antioxidant capacities and other evaluated phytochemicals. SI seeds should be considered as an important dietary source of health promoting phytochemicals.

Keywords: Antioxidant capacity; Carotenoids; Fatty acids; Phenolic compounds; Phytosterols; Plukenetia volubilis; Tocopherols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Euphorbiaceae / chemistry*
  • Euphorbiaceae / classification
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis*
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phytosterols / analysis*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Tocopherols / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Phenols
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Oils
  • Tocopherols