The Profile of Carotenoids and Other Bioactive Molecules in Various Pumpkin Fruits ( Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) Cultivars

Molecules. 2019 Sep 4;24(18):3212. doi: 10.3390/molecules24183212.


Bioactive compounds are significant to human nutrition. They are beneficial to health as they inhibit the development of numerous diseases of affluence. Scientists continuously search for natural sources of these components. At present, the chemical composition of various plants is under investigation. Many researchers are interested in pumpkin (Cucurbita L. spp.). Different organs of this plant (pulp, seeds, flowers, leaves, shoots, roots) are consumed almost all over the world. They contain large amounts of bioactive compounds. Pumpkin pulp is used to prepare various dishes. It is also widely used in the food industry for the production of pastries, baked goods, juices, jams, marinades, and baby food. The content of carotenoids in the pumpkin has been documented in a large number of publications. However, so far there has been no complex analysis of the profile of other bioactive compounds. This article analyses 11 pumpkin cultivars of the Cucurbita maxima Duchesne species. It compares the chemical composition of the pulp and analyses the content of bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, polyphenols (flavonols and phenolic acids), tocopherols, minerals (K, Ca, Mg, Na, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn), vitamins (C, B1, folates). In view of available information, the study provides an innovative approach. The analysis showed high diversity in the concentration of individual components between the cultivars. The research proved that pumpkin pulp was not only a source of carotenoids but also other bioactive compounds.

Keywords: Cucurbita maxima Duchesne; bioactive compounds; cluster analysis; pumpkin fruits.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Carotenoids / chemistry*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cucurbita / chemistry*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Carotenoids