Key words Conifer seed oil
Fatty acid composition
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract The fatty acid compositions of seed oils from 34 conifer species, mainly Pinaceae and secondarily Cupressaceae, have been determined by gas-liquid chromatography of the methyl esters. As noted in earlier studies, these oils were characterized by the presence of several Δ5-olefinic acids, i.e., 5,9-18:2, 5,9,12-18:3, 5,9,12,15-18:4, 5,11-20:2, 5,11,14-20:3, and 5,11,14,17-20:4 acids, in addition to the more common saturated, oleic, linoleic and α-linolenic acids. Based on these fatty acid compositions, and on those established in earlier systematic studies (totalling 82 species), we established a chemotaxonomic grouping of the main conifer families, i.e., of the Pinaceae, Taxodiaceae, Cupressaceae, and Taxaceae. This was achieved using multivariate analyses (principal component analysis and discriminant analysis). The fatty acids that discriminate best in this classification are the 5,11,14,17-20:4, 9,12,15-18:3 and 5,9,12-18:3 acids. Moreover, it was possible to differentiate between several genera of the Pinaceae: Pinus (including Tsuga and Pseudotsuga), Abies, Cedrus, and Picea plus Larix, represented quite distinct groups. Other fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic, and 5,9-18:2 acids were also important for this purpose. The fatty acid compositions, and particularly the Δ5-olefinic acid contents of conifer seed oils, may thus be applied to the chemosystematic distinction among conifer families as well as genera of the Pinaceae.
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