Phytosterols and Fatty Acids in Camellias

Chinese scientists studied the sterol composition and the content of fatty acids in the oils obtained from the seeds of plants belonging to three different sections of the Camellia genus: tea camellias (Thea, which includes all known species and varieties from which tea leaves are made: C. sinensis var. assamica, C. sinensis var. sinensis, C. taliensis), paracamellia (it includes, in particular, Camellia oleifera, whose seeds are most often used for making tea oil) and red camellia (Camellia, this section comprises different species of decorative camellias, for example Camellia japonica).

The study revealed that tea camellia (Thea) oil contains more linoleic and palmitic acids, but less oleic acid than red camellia and paracamellia oils. It was also found that the red camellia and paracamellia clustered together based on the data of 12 out of 13 investigated phytosterols as well as squalene and, accordingly, differ in the content of these substances from the tea camellia.