Kernels from nine cashew tree genotypes were characterized with respect to their chemical composition and fatty acids profile, peroxide value and free fatty acids content of the extracted oil. Their proximate composition ranged from 2.69 to 8.37% for moisture, 17.50 to 24.49% for proteins, 39.88 to 47.10% for lipids, 27.14 to 34.94% for total carbohydrate and 2.74 to 4.14% for ash. The amounts of free fatty acids in the oils were smaller than 0.55% for all genotypes tested and no peroxides were detected. Oleic acid was the most abundant fatty acid in kernel oils, ranging from 57.66 to 67.12%. The genotypes that showed higher lipid contents and smaller carbohydrate contents among all genotypes tested were CCP09, EMB51, BRS226 and CCP1001. Those genotypes can be regarded as potential sources of high quality vegetable oil.
Key words: Anacardium occidentale L., cashew nut, edible oil, lipids, proximate composition.