The Sacha Inchi
Plukenetia volubilis Linneo.


The SACHA INCHI, Plukenetia volubilis Linneo, is a wild climber oleaginous plant which grows mainly in the rain forest. It constitutes a great contribution of the Peruvian Amazon for the World. “The Sacha Inchi is not an adapted specie, but it is rather a magnificent expression of the ecological environment in which it grows in a constant biological interrelation amongst other plants, climate and soil” (MARTÍNEZ, 1979); it contains a high level of oil and proteins. Ceramics in the pre-Inca and Inca tombs give evidence of the SACHA INCHI seeds.

The botanical definition of the plant is the following:         
Order : Euphorbia
Family : Euphorbiaceae
Gender : Plukenetia
Specie : Volubilis linneo
Crop : Sacha Inchi
Scientific Name : Plukenetia volubilis L.

When study the botanical family Euphorbiaceae with more than 6,000 species and with extreme botanical and chemical diversity, of which the primitive society has used hundreds, it is logical to understand why the human being had taken into consideration their great economic importance.

The Euphorbia, that take the name of Euphorbio, the King of Juba, Medical Doctor in Mauritania (54 B.C.) - first in using the latex of these plants - which present a great diversity of compounds such as fat, fatty acids, esterics and oils (“castor oil”, “curcas oil”, “essang oil”, “jychee oil” and others) (PEREZ – ARBELAEZ, 1956).

The gender Plukenetia it has been reported in Malaysia, New Guinea, Mexico, etc. (Orton Commemorative Library , 1987). In Tropical America the number of reported species varies from 7 to 12 (Stanley and Steyemark, 1949; Hutchinson, 1969). In South America, the presence of Plukenetia volubilis Linneo, has been registered in the Peruvian Amazon, (Macbride, 1951).

This investigation began in 1988 and it has been retaken by the Program of Investigation in Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, at “El Porvenir” Experimental Station in San Martin, Peru, in the line of Genetic Improvement, compiling information about diverse cultivation forms and modalities, as well as the compilation and eco-types evaluation of Plukenetia volúbilis L.

 

THE SACHA INCHI OIL

Analysis carried out in the Institute of the Food Science at CORNELL University USA (D.C. Hazen and Y. Stoewsand, unpublished data), established that the Sacha Inchi contains an unusual high level of oil (49%) and a relatively high content of proteins (33%) (Hamaker et to the, 1992).

As a result of the studies carried out since 1980 in Peru, as well as in the United States and in other countries, it is known that this oil is the best amongst other vegetable oils used for the human consumption; its rich composition of fatty acids demonstrates its high quality, included the polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega Group, in a higher content in comparison to other oleaginous seeds, used for the extraction of oil for the human consumption; the Sacha Inchi Seed Oil has a high content of the linolenic fatty acid, the most valuable oil of the Omega Group present in the composition of the fats

CROP

PROTEIN %

FAT %

Sacha Inchi

33.3

48.7

Soya bean

28.2

18.9

Penut

23.4

45.3

Sunflower

24.0

47.5

Cotton

32.9

16.1

Palm Cruet
-.-
45.0
SOURCE :  Hazen y Stoewesand, Cornell University  Ithaca USA 1980;
Duclos, P., Florida University, USA 1980

The following chart shows the content of the fatty acids nutrients and the composition of several oleaginous seeds used for the oil production for the human consumption. The analyses and studies made on these seeds demonstrate in all the aspects, the high quality and superiority of the oil and the nutrients of the Sacha Inchi.


Fatty Acids

Seed

Sacha Inchi

Soya bean

Penut

Cotton

Sunflower

Total Oil (%)

54 19 45 16 48

Saturated:

 

C14 : Miristic

   0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

C16 : Palmitic

   4.5

10.5

12.0

18.7

7.5

C18 : Stearic

   3.2

3.2

2.2

2.4

5.3

Unsaturated

C16 : Palmitic Oleic

   0.0

0.0

0.3

0.6

0.0

C18 : Oleic

 9.6

22.3

41.3

18.7

29.3

C18 : Linoleic

36.8

54.5

36.8

57.5

57.9

C18 : Linolenic

  45.2

8.3

0.0

0.5

0.0

C20 : Gadoleic

   0.0

0.0

1.1

0.0

0.0

Source: Hazen y Stoewesand, 1980, Cornell University  Ithaca USA

There are oils, pressed in cold, which have not been processed and do not contain any chemical additive, as it is the case of the Sacha Inchi Oil in its first extractive form; and therefore it is beneficial for the human organism. This type of oil should only be used cold; that is to say, taking it directly from the bottle, in salads, mixed with yogurt or milk, or it can also be sprinkled on previously cooked (sauté) meals. This is the recommended way to consume the extracted pressed in cold product in this extraction state pressed in cold.

In the alimentation, the contribution ofWira Sacha Inchi Omega Oil of Sacha Inchi in its diverse forms -due to its high protein, mineral and vitamins compounds- has become as the best oil for the domestic, industrial, cosmetic and medicinal human comsumption.

 

THE SACHA INCHI PROTEINS AND ITS DIGESTIBILITY

The total proteins of the Sacha Inchi in comparison with the patterns recommended by FAO/WHO/ONU (Consultants Meeting of Speakers 1985 of FAO/WHO/ONU) for the feeding of children in pre-school age, from two to five years, and what it has recently been recommended for all the ages, excluding infants (Union of Expert Consultants of 1990 of the FAO/WHO/ONU); its shown in the following chart, against the different seeds:

PROTEINS
Y
 AMINO ACIDS

SEEDS (2)

(3) Patrons
FAO/WHO/ONU

Sacha
Inchi

Soya bean

Penut

Cotton

Sunflower

PROTEINS (1)

27

28

23

23

24

-.-

ESSENTIALS AMINO ACIDS

Histidine

26

25

24

27

23

19

Isoleucine

50

45

34

33

43

28

Leucine

64

78

64

59

64

66

Lisine

43

54

35

44

36

58

Methionine

12

13

12

13

15

-.-

Cysteine

25

13

13

16

15

-.-

Methionine + cysteine

37

26

25

29

34

25

Phenylalanine

24

49

50

52

15

-.-

Tyrosine

55

31

39

29

19

-.-

Phenylalanine+tyrosine

79

80

89

81

54

53

Threonine

43

39

26

33

37

34

Triptophan

29

13

10

13

14

11

Valine

40

48

42

46

51

35

NON ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS

Alanine

36

43

39

41

42

-.-

Arginine

55

72

112

112

80

-.-

Asparagine

111

117

114

94

93

-.-

Glutamine

133

187

183

200

218

-.-

Glycine

118

42

56

42

54

-.-

Proline

48

55

44

38

45

-.-

Serine

64

51

48

44

43

-.-

TEAA*

411

418

349

365

366

-.-

TAA**

976

985

945

936

941

-.-

TEAA (% de TAA)

42

42

37

39

39

-.-

Source: Hamaker et al. 1992. Arkansas University, USA
*TEAA=Total essential amino acids
**TAA= Total of amino acids

  1. The values are indicated in milligrams of proteins
  2. Values for soya, peanut, cotton and sunflower were taken from Bodwel and Hopkins (1985)
  3. Recommended levels for pre-school children (2-5years). Recently it is recommended for the evaluation of the protein diet quality for all the groups, with the exception of the infants
    (consultant meeting. Group of Experts FAO/WHO 1990).

Digestibility of products derived from Sacha Inchi

The results of the Sacha Inchi digestibility, mainly for its flour and oil products are as follows:

    1. In the flour scoured by a pressing process, it was obtained a real protein digestibility of 92,24 versus 94,42 of casein, used as a control reference.
    2. For the oil, it was proven a digestibility with the following results:

casein + 10% of vegetable oil 88,0
casein + 10% of Sacha Inchi oil 93,7
casein + 15% of vegetable oil 91,6
casein + 15% of Sacha Inchi oil 96,4

Source: The absorption of the oil is quite high and definitively better than a commercial vegetable oil. This study was carried out for the Thesis of Degree from the Engineer Liley Veils Saavedra of the Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Agroindustrial Engineering Faculty, being sponsor by the Engineer Ernesto Santander Ruiz. The analyses were carried out in the Instituto Nacional de Nutrición, Lima-Peru.

 

THE OMEGA 3 AND 6 OF THE SACHA INCHI OILS

The linoleic acid (C18:2 w6) and alpha-linolenic (C18:3 w3) are essential because the human being cannot insert double bonds due to the lack of (no-saturated Ð12 and Ð15) enzymes, responsible for the introduction of double bonds in the positions w6 and w3.

When the organism assimilates the essential acids fatty linoleic and a-linolenic, through the “Desaturase” enzyme, elongates them converting the linoleic chain from “18 atoms” of carbon with two double bonds into “20 atoms” with 5 double bonds producing the fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic EPA; the chain of the alpha linolenic elongates from “18 atoms” of carbon with 3 double bonds to “22 atoms” with 6 double bonds producing the fatty acid Docosahexaenoic DHA; these fatty acids are denominated Omega-3.

From the linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids, through the elongation and desaturation process from the chains of atoms of carbon, the polyunsatured fatty acids of very long chain are synthesized (20 or more atoms of carbon).

The fatty acids of each family cannot be converted between themselves. Therefore, is of a fundamental importance the synthesis of the different polyunsatured fatty acids of a very long chain which depends directly on the respective precursors concentration and a correctly balanced contribution .

The Omega-3 Oils are very rare in the nature and there are indispensable for the life and the health, that’s why they should always be present in the diet; especially the Omega-3 (alpha linolenic), as it cannot be synthesized from the ingested food by the organism, for this reason it is denominated the “essential linolenic fatty acid.” The Omega-3 EPA and DH are in the seaweeds, which are consumed by some the fish of cold waters. The human organism synthesizes for elongation process the EPA and DH fatty acids, from the essential linoleic fatty acid and the linolenic" (source: Marino Villavicencio Núñez, Biochemistry 1 1996), contained as well as in the Sacha Inchi Oil; being one of the most prospective nutritional sources to promote the good health.

 

Potty acids Synthesis of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids.
PG = prostaglandin


Linoleic Acid Family

Linolenic Acid Family

Source: Dr. Marino Villavicencio Núñez
Bioquímica I. 1996

Docosahexaenoic (DHA)

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SACHA INCHI IN THE HEALTH AND THE NUTRITION

 

 

Nutritional sources
The main nutritional sources of essential fatty acids are:

Omega 6
The linoleic (n-6): the Sacha Inchi, cardamon, sunflower, soya bean, corn, sesame and most of the grains. The Gama Linolenic Acid GLA (n-6), the primrose and the borage (evening primrose oil and borage oil). Due to its the therapeutic benefits GLA is indicated in many other conditions of health that includes clinically: the arthritis rheumatoid, cardiovascular diseases, diabetic neuropathy, cancer, and skin illnesses such as eczema and psoriasis.

Omega 3
The a-linolenic acid ALA (n-3): it is in the Sacha Inchi and in the flax seed; and in a very small proportion, in the soya bean, nut, and the pumpkin seed. The Docosahexaenoic DHA and the Eicosapentaenoic Acid EPA that can be obtained directly of the oil extracted from the cold water fish (mainly salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardine, cod). The investigation demonstrates that the fish fat which contains EPA and DHA has therapeutic benefits in areas, including: the arthritis rheumatoid, high triglycerides in the blood, the high pressure tension, heart arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart), development of the child’s brain and cancer.

Gabe Mirkin M.D. indicates that… since the human being inhabit the earth, have been ingested food which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 in a proportion of approximately “2 to 1.” However, during the last 50 years e.g. in North America, the proportion has changed from “2 to 1”, to “10 or 20 to 1.” The diet of the North Americans includes big quantities of oils, extracted from plants, which are used to cook or to prepare the meals. These oils, (such as corn, sunflower, cotton seed, peanut, or soya bean) are mainly Omega-6. It has diminished the ingestion of Omega-3, which mainly comes from the whole grains, beans, other seeds and from the seafood (shellfish and fish).

The ingestion of too much Omega-6 and very little Omega-3, causes clots and it narrows the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks; swellings and increment of the arthritis; increase the risk of skin diseases, such as psoriasis. It can block the ability of a person to respond to the insulin, causing high insulin and high levels of sugar in the blood; and the obesity. The increase of levels of the insulin hormone, as the “factor of growth-1”, causes certain types of cancer.

In order to achieve the right proportion of Omega-6 / Omega-3 in a healthy “2 to 1”, one should eat seafood, whole grains, beans and other seeds; and should reduce the ingestion of made or cooked meals with vegetable oils.

The Sacha Inchi and their derived products, have become today an excellent alternative vegetable source of Omega-3 and now they have obtain a relation “2: 1” - “4: 1” that is the same as the one in the maternal milk (X Latin American Congress of Nutritionists and Dietitians of the Scientific Committee, by their INTERNATIONAL COURSE OF CLINICAL NUTRITION at Colegio de Nutricionistas del Perú); The precursory linoleic fatty acid Omega-6 and the a-linolenic Omega-3, main compounds of the Sacha Inchi Oil to 85.41%, are essential and they should be consumed in the feeding, “Fats and oils in the human nutrition. Experts' FAO/OMS consults” (FAO Study, Feeding and Nutrition - 57)

 

THE SACHA INCHI OIL MARKET

National Market (Potential – Future)

Contribution to the national nutrition with rich products in Omega 3 for human consumption. Special programs have to be designed and promoted, taking into account the protein concentration of the of Sacha Inchi cake.


International Market

1.- Japan:Food Industry Trading for the human consumption, in volumes, which are increasing according to the oil and protein Omega cakes production

2.- USA: As ingredients for the food industry in the North American market.

3.- EUROPE: Omega Oil for medicinal use and for the food industry; and protein cakes for human consumption. Also for cosmetic use.

 

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