BACKGROUND:Pinus halepensis (Aleppo pine) is a widespread tree that can be found in both natural and urban environments. A discrimination study based on the antioxidant compounds, antioxidant capacity and fatty acid (FA) profile of P. halepensis cones (PHC) and seeds (PHS) was performed.
RESULTS: The total amount of phenols was about 72-fold higher in PHC extract than in PHS extract (P < 0.001). Anthocyanin and carotenoid contents were 10- and 12-fold higher respectively in PHC extract. PHC and PHS extracts at a concentration of 1 mg mL−1 differed significantly in free radical-scavenging activity on 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH•) (86.65 vs 16.97%). PHC had higher antioxidant ability on 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothialozine-6-sulfonic acid) radical cation (ABTS•+) than PHS (EC50 0.368 vs 2.345 mg mL−1). The FA profile of PHC oil revealed its richness in saturated FAs (41.5%) and high levels of trans FA isomers, with a predominance of trans,trans-linoleic acid (4.74%). However, polyunsaturated FAs in PHS oil represented more than 64% of total FAs.
CONCLUSION: PHC showed important antioxidant activities as well as high levels of bioactive compounds. Thus PHC is a potential source of natural antioxidants that may afford several health benefits. However, the lipid extract of PHS seems to have more nutritional value as a polyunsaturated oil than that of PHC, which is high in saturated and trans FAs. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry