Introduction

Oilseeds serve as a main source of edible vegetable oils, including essential fatty acids belonging to both the o>3 and o>6 families, but also include a considerable amount of protein and carbohydrate. Furthermore, oilseeds contain minor components in both their oil and deoiled meal. The minor components in oleaginous seeds belong to a wide array of compounds representing different classes of phytochemi-cals which are often bioactive; these include phenolics and polyphenolics, toco-pherols and tocotrienols, glucosinolates, phytates, phytosterols, lignans, carotenoids, lectins, and enzyme inhibitors, among others. The type of phytochemicals and their contents in different oilseeds depend primarily on the species concerned as well as agronomic, seasonal, and environmental conditions. This chapter provides a brief discussion of oilseed phytochemicals with specific emphasis on their phenolic and polyphenolic constituents.

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