Two selected walnut cultivars (Xiangling and Jizhaomian) growing in China were analyzed in terms of proximate and mineral composition, fatty acid and amino acid profile. According to the higher kernel rate (61.22%), thinner shell (1.03 mm), higher content of fat (66.93%), protein (20.97%), essential amino acids (29.31% of total amino acids) and minerals such as manganese, zinc and copper, Xiangling would be the more nutritive cultivar with more commercial value. However, Jizhaomian would be the more healthful cultivar based on the higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (79.39% of total fatty acids), and it would be more sensitive to rancidity. Jizhaomian also showed higher content in potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Genotype is the major source of variability in morphology and chemical compositions. Regardless of the cultivar, consumption of walnuts is desirably encouraged, since all of them contain compounds potentially beneficial to health.
Keywords: Amino acids; Fatty acids; Kernel rate; Minerals; Protein; Walnut.