Watermelon seeds – don’t spit, chew!

Watermelon Seeds as Food: Nutrient Composition, Phytochemicals and Antioxidant Activity

Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2016, Pages: 139-144

Authors: Betty Tabiri, Jacob K. Agbenorhevi*, Faustina D. Wireko-Manu, Elsa I. Ompouma

Department of Food Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Betty Tabiri, et al

 Published: March 30, 2016


Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seeds are often discarded while the fruit is eaten. In this study, seeds of three (3) varieties of watermelon (Charleston gray, Crimson sweet and Black diamond) were analyzed for their proximate, minerals, phytochemicals, total phenols content and antioxidant activity. The proximate analysis and phytochemicals screening were performed using standard procedures whereas minerals content was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. DPPH free radical scavenging activity and Folin-ciocalteau assays were used to determine antioxidant activity and total phenol content, respectively. The results indicated that the watermelon seeds had moisture content in the range of 7.40 – 8.50%; fat, 26.50 – 27.83%; protein, 16.33 – 17.75%; fibre, 39.09 – 43.28%; ash, 2.00 – 3.00%; carbohydrate, 9.55 – 15.32% and energy value of 354.05 – 369.11 kcal/100g. The seeds also contained appreciable minerals (Ca, P, Mg, Na, K and Zn) with K (3.40-3.5 mg/100g) being the highest while Na (0.07 – 0.08 mg/100g) was the least. DPPH% inhibition varied between 59.88-94.46% inhibition with trolox equivalent of 82.59-130.29 µM/g depending on the variety. Saponins, tannins, triterpenoids glycosides and alkaloids were present in all samples. Crimson sweet seeds had the highest total phenol content (5416 mgGAE/100g), followed by Black diamond (3949 mg GAE/100g) and the least, Charleston gray (1494 mg GAE/100g). Similarly, Crimson sweet had the highest antioxidant activity, followed by Black diamond and lastly, Charleston gray. The present findings suggest watermelon seeds as considerable source of nutrients in the diet and may have health and economic benefits due to its fibre, minerals, phenolics content and antioxidant activity.

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