In vitro health beneficial activities of Pumpkin seeds from Cucurbita moschata cultivated in Lemnos

Danai Sakka, Haralabos C. Karantonis


Pumpkin seeds are commonly consumed in Greece. Although Cucurbita moschata is locally grown in Lemnos and is traditionally used in pumpkin pies, the seeds are currently discarded after consumption of the fruit flesh. The aim of the present study was to investigate the nutritional functionality of pumpkin seeds from Cucurbita moschata grown in Lemnos.

Cucurbita moschatas’ seeds, raw or roasted, were appropriately extracted and the results are presented for raw versus (vs) roasted seed extracts. The phenolic content was expressed as μg gallic acid/g of seeds according to Folin-Ciocalteau assay (370.3 ± 19.1 vs 551.0 ± 22.0). Antioxidant capacity was expressed as equivalent amount for 50% scavenging in mg of seeds for DPPH (50.03 ± 5.91 vs 25.82 ± 6.77) and ABTS (17.85 ± 0.77 vs 12.77 ± 0.76) assays, and as μmol of trolox/g of seeds for FRAP (1.19 ± 0.05 vs 2.50 ± 0.23) and CUPRAC (2.13 ±0.11 vs 3.25 ± 0.06) assays. Anti-inflammatory/anti-thrombotic and anti-diabetic activities were expressed as mg of seeds for 50% inhibition of platelet activating factor (0.62 vs 0.15) and as μg of seeds for 25% inhibition of alpha-glycosidase (40.0 vs 61.0) activities respectively. Moreover, anti-atherogenic activity was expressed as the % increase in lag time of human plasma oxidation (62.7 versus 163.2)

Raw and roasted pumpkin seed extracts exert anti-oxidant, anti-thrombotic/anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and antidiabetic activities. Cucurbita moschata seeds may represent a novel opportunity for development of functional foods, with a local interest in Lemnos that would contribute also to the regional public health improvement.


pumpkin seeds; Cucurbita moschata; functional foods; in vitro nutritive value

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