Get access

Sicilian Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil: Fatty acid composition and bio-economical aspects

Authors


Abstract

The fatty acid composition of the seed oil from the yellow fruit of Opuntia ficus-indica widely grown in Sicily shows several distinctive features. The oil obtained comprises significant amounts of vaccenic acid along with several other unsaturated fatty acids showing several health benefits, including linolenic, trans-13-octadecenoic, gondoic, 7Z,10Z-hexadecadienoic, and gadoleic acid. The economic analysis shows the significant advantage of carrying out the extraction from fruits considered unfit for consumption.

Practical applications: The fatty acid composition of Sicilian Opuntia ficus-indica seed oil is similar to that of fruits grown in Tunisia, while it has a completely different profile than the OFI fruits grown in Algeria and Morocco. Like the oil obtained in Tunisia, the Sicilian oil has a higher vaccenic acid content, but it comprises significant amounts of other unsaturated fatty acids showing highly beneficial health properties. Extracted from fruits considered unfit for consumption, its production generates €1220 additional revenues per tonne of unfit fruit thereby significantly improving the economics of OFI processing companies. The oil has several potential applications which go beyond cosmetics, especially as nutraceutical ingredient. With increasing usage and market expansion, we predict that cold press extraction will be replaced by advanced extraction methods such as extraction with supercritical CO2 maximizing for example the biophenol amount in the oil.

ejlt201700232-gra-0001

The fatty acid composition of the seed oil from the yellow fruit of Opuntia ficus-indica widely grown in Sicily shows several distinctive features. The oil obtained comprises significant amounts of vaccenic acid along with several other unsaturated fatty acids showing several health benefits, including linolenic, trans-13-octadecenoic, gondoic, 7Z,10Z-hexadecadienoic, and gadoleic acid. The economic analysis shows the significant advantage of carrying out the extraction from fruits considered unfit for consumption.

Ancillary