Seeds and oil of the Styrian oil pumpkin: Components and biological activities



Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo var. Styriaca is a phylogenetically young member of the Cucurbita spp. since the mutation leading to dark green seeds with stunted outer hulls arose only in the 19th century. This mutation defined the so-called Styrian oil pumpkin and facilitated the production of Styrian pumpkin seed oil. It is a regional specialty oil in the south-eastern part of Europe. In this article, we describe the production and economic value of this edible oil as well as its composition on a molecular basis, including fatty acids, vitamins, phytosterols, minerals, polyphenols, and the compounds responsible for its pigments, taste and flavor. We also describe contaminants of Styrian pumpkin seed oil and the most relevant field pests of the Styrian oil pumpkin plant. Finally, we review the putative beneficial health effects of Styrian oil pumpkin seeds and of their products.