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Sacha-Inchi (Oil)

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Sacha Inchi: What is it? | Quick Points | Health Benefits | Traditional Usage | Composition & Nutritional Value | Advantages Over Other Oils | Dosage, Preperation, Storage | Sacha Inchi Home

Research & Studies of Sacha Inchi:

The fast gaining popularity of Sacha Inchi has spurred an influx of research and many new studies associated with this remarkable plant. On this page are but a few examples for your perusal... (We've numbered them for easy reference as well as indicating all known sources and references about the articles.)

1) Isolation, purification, and biochemical characterization of a novel water soluble protein from Inca peanut (Plukenetia volubilis L.).
(J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Aug 14;50(17):4906-8. PMID: 12166980 - indexed for MEDLINE, August 14th, 2002)

A water soluble storage albumin from Inca peanut (IPA) accounted for approximately 25% (w/w) of defatted seed flour weight, representing 31% of the total seed protein. IPA is a 3S storage protein composed of two glycosylated polypeptides, with estimated molecular weights (MW) of 32800 and 34800 Da, respectively. IPA has an estimated sugar content of 4.8% +/- 0.92% (n = 6). Sacha Inchi
IPA is a basic protein (pI of approximately 9.4) and contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts when compared to the FAO/WHO recommended pattern for a human adult. The tryptophan content of IPA is unusually high (44 mg/g of protein), whereas the phenylalanine content is low (9 mg/g of protein). IPA is a highly digestible protein in vitro.

Ellagic acid (1) and its two derivatives, 4-O-methylellagic acid (2) and 4-(alpha-rhamnopyranosyl)ellagic acid (3) were isolated as inhibitors of aldose reductase (AR) from Myrciaria dubia (H. B. & K.) McVaugh. Compound 2 was the first isolated from the nature. Compound 3 showed the strongest inhibition against human recombinant AR (HRAR) and rat lens AR (RLAR). Inhibitory activity of compound 3 against HRAR (IC50 value = 4.1 x 10(-8) M) was 60 times more than that of quercetin (2.5 x 10(-6) M). The type of inhibition against HRAR was uncompetitive.

Source/ References:
Sathe SK, Hamaker BR, Sze-Tao KW, Venkatachalam M.
Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1493, USA.

2) Characterization of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) oil by FTIR spectroscopy and 1H NMR. Comparison with linseed oil
(Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society: Volume 80, Number 8 / August, 2003 & Chemistry and Materials Science
Received: 25 July 2002, Accepted: 28 February 2003)

Three oil samples obtained from sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) seeds were studied by means of FTIR and 1H NMR. Frequency data of the most significant bands of the IR spectrum of this oil are given. These data show that sacha inchi oil has a high degree of unsaturation.

The same fact is deduced from the ratio between the absorbance of the bands due to the stretching vibrations of the cis olefinic CH double bonds at 3010.5 cm−1 and to the methylene symmetrical stretching vibrations at 2855.1 cm−1. The proportions of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated acyl groups were predicted from the frequency of some IR bands, and these were in satisfactory agreement with the values obtained through FAME generation and their quantification by GC.

Likewise, simple observation of the 1H NMR spectra provided a great deal of information about sacha inchi oil, with regard not only to the relative proportions of the different acyl groups but also to their nature. Thus, the presence of γ-linolenic acyl groups was discounted.

Furthermore, the area of some 1H NMR signals was used to determine the proportion of saturated and mono-, di-, and triunsaturated acyl groups, which also were in satisfactory agreement with the values obtained by classical methods. IR and 1H NMR determinations take very little time in comparison with classical methods and do not require chemical manipulation or transformation of the sample.

A comparison was also made between the compositions of sacha inchi and linseed oil. Both oils are important sources of the healthful n−3 linolenic acyl groups, and sacha inchi also contains high proportions of the n−6 linoleic acyl groups.

Source/ References:
(1) Universidad Agraria de La Molina, Lima, Perú
(2) Tecnología de Alimentos, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad del País Vasco, Paseo de la Universidad 7, 01006 Vitoria, Spain. (María D. Guillén2 , Ainhoa Ruiz2, Nerea Cabo2, Rosana Chirinos1 and Gloria Pascual1)

3) Alpha linolenic acid rich oils. Composition of Plukenetia volubilis (Sacha Inchi) oil from Peru
(Journal title: RIVISTA ITALIANA DELLE SOSTANZE GRASSE- 2006, VOL 83; NUMB 3, pages 120-123)

Summary/ Abstract: In this shorts paper the oil obtained from the Plukenetia volubilis seeds, has seedling belonging to the family of Euphorbiaceae, is described. This crop is cultivated in several Countries of South America. For P. volubilis oil numerous classical chemical parameters were evaluated.

The obtained dated indicate that this oil be classified as rich in alpha linolenic acid (> 50%).

For the commercial development of this product all available precautions must be taken to avoid gold to slow fox trot down the oxidative degradation.

Source/ References:
Bondioli, P. Bella, L. D.
Publisher: STAZIONE SPERIMENTALI OLII GRASSI, Country of publication: Italy

4) Phytochemical content and antioxidant capacity of water-soluble isolates from peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.)
(Christopher E. Duncana, Daniel W. Gorbetb and Stephen T. Talcotta. Received November 29,2005; accepted May 22, 2006. Available online July 20, 2006.)

Abstract: Numerous polyphenolics have been identified in peanuts, but information relating to their storage stability and contributions to total antioxidant capacity are lacking. This study investigated contributors to the antioxidant capacity of six peanut cultivars by means of fractionation from reversed phase C18 cartridges. Five water-soluble peanut isolates were prepared and subsequently stored at 35 °C and evaluated for individual and total polyphenolics, antioxidant capacity, total reducing equivalents, and total amino acids after 0, 2, 4 and 8 weeks.

The relative contribution of each isolate to total antioxidant capacity for each cultivar was additive, with the C18 non-retained fraction containing 100% of the p-coumaric acid and 82% of the total amino acids. During storage relatively small changes were observed for antioxidant activity and total reducing equivalents among cultivars and isolates, indicating the lack of oxidative or condensation reactions among the isolated constituents.

Results demonstrated the overall stability and diversity of antioxidant polyphenolics found in peanuts, information that advances the marketability of the crop.

Source/ References:
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
& University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL 32344, USA

5) “Rural Poverty Reduction through Research for Development and Transformation”
(Deutscher Tropentag, October 5-7, 2004 in Berlin)

Abstract: In terms of biodiversity, Peru is among the three richest South American countries, along with Brazil and Colombia. Amazonia has supplied a number of important crops for world agriculture and can still offer many more if scientific research and entrepreneurial action are directed towards this end. Approximately 0.5% (350 000 ha) of the Peruvian Amazon is converted to cropland or pastures each year, with greatest rates of deforestation occurring around population centres, such as Pucallpa, the capital of Ucayali region.

The fruit diversity of Amazon basin is far from exploited. More than 100 different fruits compose the offer of the traditional markets of the continent and the present inventory includes more than 1100 native American fruits, at all stages of domestication, some still collected in the wild, while some of their successful relatives are cultivated intensively. These locally important species are frequently neglected by science. Lack of attention by research and development has meant that their potential value is underexploited. This neglect status places them in danger of continuing genetic erosion, further restricting development options for the rural poor. Research to increase their value and make them more widely available would broaden their resource base and increase the livelihood options for rural communities.

Although, some of the indigenous species have been promoted and researched, there exist numerous neglected fruit crops, such as Pouteria speciosa, Maxmilliana marida, Couma utilis, Paraqueiba sericea, Plukenetia volubilis, Scheelea basleriana, Theobroma bicolor, Theobroma grandiflorum, Crescentia cujete etc. which are not yet fully domesticated and important ethnobotanical data still remains unknown.

Native fruits present unique opportunities to widen or re-conquer domestic markets, to diversify agricultural production and for the sustainable development of particular areas, as the fragile ecosystems of the Amazon basin. The objective of this study was to emphasise the genetic diversity and multipurpose use of neglected crops (especially fruit trees) of Ucayali department in connection with appropriate ethnobotanical data trough participatory on farm research. Subsequently, germplasm collection was established in cooperation with Universidad Nacional de Ucayali for further selection and return distribution to local farmers.

Source/ References:
The Potential of Neglected Fruit Trees of Ucayali Department of Peruvian Amazon.
Zbynek Polesny, Bohdan Lojka, Jana Lojkova, Jan Banout, Martin Kocarek
Czech University of Agriculture, Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech Republic

6) “Utilisation of diversity in land use systems: Sustainable and organic approaches to meet human needs”
( Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia Volubilis, Euphorbiaceae): a Promising Oilseed Crop from Peruvian Amazon. Tropentag, October 9-11, 2007, Witzenhausen)

The aim of this paper is to introduce sacha inchi plant and analyse its cultivation potential in Peruvian Amazon.

Abstract: Amazonia is considered the world’s most important centre of biodiversity. Several important crops for world agriculture (e.g. cassava, pineapple, cocoa, rubber, etc.) were first domesticated in this area. However, numerous underexploited Amazonian plant species with promising economic value still remain little-known and neglected by science. Typical example of such species is ‘sacha inchi’ (Plukenetia volubilis, Euphorbiaceae).

Sacha inchi is a potential new crop indigenous to the high-altitude rain forests of the Andean region of South America nowadays spreaded to the lowlands of Peruvian Amazon. It is a semi perennial, semi woody twining vine yielding mostly tetra-lobular capsules, with 4 lenticular leaginous seeds inside.

The sacha inchi seeds are rich in oil (35–60%) and protein (27 %) content. The oil contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic, linolenic) and is rich in vitamins A and E. According to the properties mentioned above ‘sacha inchi’ is ideal for improving children alimentation and very desirable for recuperation after diseases and especially for aged persons alimentation. Furthermore, the leaves of ‘sacha inchi’ are considered as excellent forage.

Although the composition and properties of ‘sacha inchi’ seeds are relatively well known, to date there is a lack of detailed information about traditional uses, cultivation, processing, economic potential and genetic diversity within this species. Intensive research on this species can contribute to future implementation of sacha inchi into the agricultural systems of the region as alternative crop which can reduce local farmers’ dependence on cultivation of coca.

Source/ References:
1) Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry in Tropics and Subtropics, Czech Republic.
2) Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech Republic.
3) Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Engineering, Economics and Rural development in Tropics and Subtropics, Czech Republic.
Blanka Krivankova 1, Zbynek Polesny 1, Bohdan Lojka 2, Jana Lojkova 2, Jan Banout 3, Daniel Preininger 2

Contact Address: Blanka Krivankova, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry in Tropics and Subtropics, Kamycka 129, 165 21 Prague 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic, e-mail:

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