COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0090.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Orphan crops; polyunsaturated fatty acids; α-linolenic acid; food security; traditional crops; oilseeds
Online: 6 May 2021 (14:53:18 CEST)
Plukenetia volubilis is an underutilized oilseed crop native to the Amazon basin, where it has been utilised by humans since Incan times. The large seeds contain approx. 45–50 % lipid, of which approx. 35.2–50.8 % is α-linolenic acid (C18:3 n-3, ω-3) and approx. 33.4–41.0 % is linoleic acid (C18:2 n-6, ω-6), the two essential fatty acids required by humans. The seeds also contain 22–30 % protein and have antioxidant properties. Due to its excellent nutritional composition and good agronomic properties, it has attracted increasing attention in recent years, and cultivation is expanding. When considering current global challenges, a reformation of our food systems is imperative in order to ensure food security, mitigation of climate change, and alleviation of malnutrition. For this purpose, underutilized crops may be essential tools, which can provide agricultural hardiness and reduced need for external inputs, climate resilience, diet diversification, and improved income opportunities for smallholders. Plukenetia volubilis is a promising up and coming crop in this regard and has considerable potential for further domestication; it has an exceptional oil composition, good sensory acceptability, is well suited for cultivation, and has numerous potential applications in, e.g. gastronomy, medicine, and cosmetics.