Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

Lignan contents in sesame seeds and products

Moazzami AA, Haese SL, Karnal-Eldin A


Sesame seed (Sesamum indicum L.) is a rich source of furofuran lignans with a wide range of potential biological activities. The major lignans in sesame seeds are the oil-soluble sesamin and sesamolin, as well as glucosides of sesaminol and sesamolinol that reside in the defatted sesame flour. Upon refining of sesame oil, acid-catalyzed transformation of sesamin to episesamin and of sesamolin to epimenc sesaminols takes place, making the profile of refined sesame oils different from that of virgin oils. In this study, the total lignan content of 14 sesame seeds ranged between 405 and 1178 mg/100 g and the total lignan content in 14 different products, including tahini, ranged between 11 and 763 mg/100 g. The content of sesamin and sesamolin in ten commercial virgin and roasted sesame oils was in the range of 444-1601 mg/100 g oil. In five refined sesame oils, sesamin ranged between 118 and 401 mg/100 g seed, episesamin between 12 and 206 mg/100 g seed, and the total contents of sesaminol epimers; between 5 and 35 mg/100 g seed, and no sesamolin was found. Thus, there is a great variation in the types and amounts of lignans in sesame seeds, seed products and oils. This knowledge is important for nutritionists working on resolving the connection between diet and health. Since the consumption of sesame seed products is increasing steadily in Europe and USA, it is important to include sesame seed lignans in databases and studies pertinent to the nutritional significance of antioxiclants and phytoestrogens. It is also important to differentiate between virgin, roasted and refined sesame oils

Published in

European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology
2007, Volume: 109, number: 10, pages: 1022-1027