BACKGROUND: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seed oil is a common product in Slovenia, Hungary and Austria and is considered a preventive agent for various pathologies, particularly prostate diseases. These properties are related to its high content of carotenoids and liposoluble vitamins. In this study the carotenoid (lutein and zeaxanthin), vitamin E (α- and γ-tocopherol) and fatty acid contents of 12 samples of commercial pumpkin seed oil were investigated together with the composition of the volatile fraction resulting from the roasting process.
RESULTS: The aromatic profile obtained from the commercial samples was directly related to the intensity of the roasting process of the crushed pumpkin seeds. The roasting temperature played a crucial role in the concentrations of volatile substances originating from Strecker degradation, lipid peroxidation and Maillard reaction.
CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that high-temperature roasting leads to the production of an oil with intense aromatic characteristics, while mild conditions, generally employed to obtain an oil with professed therapeutic characteristics, lead to a product with minor characteristic pumpkin seed oil aroma. The nutraceutical properties of the product are confirmed by the high content of α- and γ-tocopherol and carotenoids. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry