Seeds of species from the 'caatinga': proteins, oils and fatty acid contents.
The seeds of 14 species from the caatinga (a dry forest ecosystem of the semiarid region of northeast Brazil), were analysed for total protein and total lipid contents, and fatty acid distribution. The seeds of Argemone mexicana, an introduced and naturalized species in Brazil, commonly found in caatinga and other vegetation, were also analysed. The protein contents of the seeds ranged from 123 to 551 g kg-1, higher contents being found in species of the Fabaceae, but also in Jatropha mollissima (Euphorbiaceae, 409 g kg-1). Oil contents ranged from 10 to 400 g kg-1. The contents of protein and oil were found to be inversely proportional in the seeds of most species, with the figures for proteins being generally higher than those of oils. Most species had either oleic or linoleic as predominant fatty acids, but Cardiospermum cf. corindum had eicosenoic acid as the predominant fatty acid. The species studied not so far mentioned were Aspidosperma pyrifolium, Cordia glabrata, Caesalpinia pyramidalis, Senna spectabilis var. excelsa, Pilosocereus gounellei (a cactus), Capparis yco, Erythrina velutina, Canavalia brasiliensis, Poecilanthe ulei, Acacia bahiensis, Acacia farnesiana and Mimosa arenosa.