Nutrients, fatty acid composition and antioxidant activity of the flowers and seed oils in wild populations of Paeonia ludlowii
Wild Paeonia ludlowii is considered as a traditional ornamental plant, but its flowers and seed oils are edible with important economic values, and the variation of nutrients, fatty acid composition in wild populations is scarcely known. Flowers and seeds of P. ludlowii were collected from two wild populations for evaluating the nutrients in flowers, composition of fatty acids in seed oils and the antioxidant activity. The flowers contained high composition of proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, total flavonoids, phenolic compounds and essential minerals. Seed oil yield reached up to 21.95% using supercritical CO2 fluid extraction, and it contained 14 fatty acids (up to 93.35 g/100g seed oil), especially the unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid) was up to 88.69% with low ω6/ω3 ratios of 0.58. The antioxidant capacity can be arranged in the order of trolox > flower extracts > seed oil according to the DPPH and ABTS free radical assay. Contents of nutrient in flowers and fatty acids in seed oils were significantly different between two wild populations due to the impact of different growing environments. These results indicate that flowers and seed oils of P. ludlowii are potential food resources in human diets.
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