Sea buckthorn oil as a valuable source of bioaccessible xanthophylls

Cristina Tudor, Torsten Bohn, Mohammed Iddir, Francisc Vasile Dulf, Monica Focşan, Dumitriţa Olivia Rugină, Adela Pintea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Sea buckthorn oil, derived from the fruits of the shrub, also termed seaberry or sandthorn, is without doubt a strikingly rich source of carotenoids, in particular zeaxanthin and β-carotene. In the present study, sea buckthorn oil and an oil-in-water emulsion were subjected to a simulated gastro-intestinal in vitro digestion, with the main focus on xanthophyll bioaccessibility. Zeaxanthin mono-and di-esters were the predominant carotenoids in sea buckthorn oil, with zeaxanthin dipalmitate as the major compound (38.0%). A typical fatty acid profile was found, with palmitic (49.4%), palmitoleic (28.0%), and oleic (11.7%) acids as the dominant fatty acids. Taking into account the high amount of carotenoid esters present in sea buckthorn oil, the use of cholesterol esterase was included in the in vitro digestion protocol. Total carotenoid bioaccessibility was higher for the oil-in-water emulsion (22.5%) compared to sea buckthorn oil (18.0%) and even higher upon the addition of cholesterol esterase (28.0% and 21.2%, respectively). In the case of sea buckthorn oil, of all the free carotenoids, zeaxanthin had the highest bioaccessibility (61.5%), followed by lutein (48.9%), making sea buckthorn oil a potential attractive source of bioaccessible xanthophylls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Apolar secondary plant compounds
  • Bioaccessibility
  • Carotenoids
  • Food matrix
  • Sea buckthorn oil
  • Simulated digestion


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