The present study aimed to evaluate some agronomical, physical and nutritional characteristics of seeds of three species of Cucurbitaceous, namely Citrulus lanatus, Lagenaria siceraria and Cucumeropsis edulus. Agronomic experiments were investigated over a two-year period during which, some agronomic performances of the tested varieties were evaluated. The physical characteristics of the collected fruits were also determined. The nutritional composition of the seeds, in particular their moisture, oils and proteins contents were then evaluated. Finally, the physicochemical characteristics, such as acidity, peroxide index, saponification index and the composition of fatty acids present in the oils extracted from seeds were performed. Results show that the species of C. lanatus and L. siceraria germinated respectively five and seven days after sowing. The flowering was observed 36 and 42 days, respectively, after sowing while the fructification appeared 44 and 58 days after sowing. According to results obtained during the two years of experimentation, the three species of Cucurbitaceous investigated in the present study could be ranged in short-cycle species (C. lanatus and L. siceraria) and long cycle species (C. edulus). Moreover, C. lanatus could be classified as the most productive as compared to others species of Cucurbitaceous plants investigated in the present study. C. edulus seeds are the longest (1.76 and 1.83 cm) in opposition to the seeds from C. lanatus (1.33 and 1.49 cm). Results of physicochemical analyses revealed the presence of fat (49.5 - 51.9%), with a high protein contents (18.46 - 31.41%). The composition of the fatty acids detected in oils extracted from seeds showed a strong concentration of linoleic acid (66.65%) and the presence of oleic acid (13.76%). The high unsaturated fatty acids proportion detected in oils from L. siceraria seeds was 80.40%. The saturated fatty acids detected were C16:0 and C18:0; and were more concentrated in the species of C. lanatus.
Key words: Cucurbitaceous, Citrullus lanatus, Lagenaria siceraria, Cucumeropsis edulis, oil, seeds, Benin.
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