Oleochemistry potential from Brazil northeastern exotic plants

Biochimie. 2020 Nov;178:96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2020.09.002. Epub 2020 Sep 14.


Caatinga is a Brazilian semi-arid ecosystem that stands out for presenting unique environmental characteristics with a dry, spiny and deciduous shrub/forest vegetation with several species that can be renewable oil sources with potential applicability in oleochemical and nutrition. Caatinga oilseeds have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols and sterols, and this composition is related to its nutritional potential. The present review summarizes the knowledge on the oil contents and fatty acid profiles of seeds from six representatives caatinga species. It was observed that plants species like Caju (Anacardium occidentale L.), Favela (Cnidoscolus quercifolius Pohl), Licuri (Syagrus coronata (Mart.) Becc.), Pinhão-bravo (Jatropha mollissima Pohl Baill), Pequi (Caryocar brasiliense Camb) and Oiticica (Licania rígida Benth) contains approximately 33.1, 33.5, 49.2, 18.3, 70.16 and 57.0% w/w of oil, respectively, on a dry weight basis. Their fatty acid profiles are mostly saturated for Licuri oil, with a high content of lauric acid (up to 40%) and unsaturated for Favela, Pinhão-bravo, Cashew nut, Pequi and Oiticica oils. Oiticica oil shows a high concentration of unusual conjugated polyunsaturated fatty acids, like α-Eleostearic and Licanic acid with 16.90 and 43.20% w/w, respectively.

Keywords: Brazil; Caatinga; Food; Oil; Plant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Nuts / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / analysis*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Sustainable Development


  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils