Food Science and Technology Project Topics

Chemical Composition of Sesame and Moringa Seeds Grown in Owo and the Physicochemical Properties of Oils Derived From Them

Chemical Composition of Sesame and Moringa Seeds Grown in Owo and the Physicochemical Properties of Oils Derived From Them

Chemical Composition of Sesame and Moringa Seeds Grown in Owo and the Physicochemical Properties of Oils Derived From Them

Chapter One


Objectives of this research were:

  1. to determine the chemical composition of Sesame and Moringa oleifera
  2. to determine the physico-chemical properties of the oil produced from Sesame and Moringa oleifera seed



Sesame (Sesamum indicum L)

          Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is a tropical and subtropical plant cultivated for its seeds, which yield about 50% of high quality edible oil. Sesame oil meal, the by-product of seseame oil extraction, is used as a feed ingredient.

Morphological description of sesame

Sesame is an annual or sometimes perennial species, growing 50 to 250 cm tall (Sun-Hwang, 2005). Its morphology is extremely variable. The sesame plant can be branched or unbranched. The leaves vary in shape and size, and may be alternate or opposite (Oplinger et al., 2000). The growing fashion is indeterminate and the plant keeps producing leaves, flowers and seeds as long as weather permits. At maturity, leaves and stems turn yellow to red in colour (Oplinger et al., 2000). It normally takes 125 to 135 days for sesame to reach maturity, but it only takes 90-120 days in commercial varieties (Hansen, 2011).

Sesame has an extensive root system that makes it very tolerant of drought. The stems are green, erect, quadrangular, longitudinally furrowed and densely hairy. The leaves are hairy, ovate, 3-17.5 cm long x 1-7 cm broad, dull green in colour (Sun-Hwang, 2005). White to pale pink bell-shaped flowers develops at the leaf axils along the stems. Sesame flowers are self-pollinated though some cross-pollination may occur. Only flowers borne 30 to 60 cm off ground develop into fruits. The fruit is a deeply grooved capsule, 2.5-3.5 cm long, parallel epipedic in shape and containing 8 rows of seeds (about 100-150 seeds). The fruits of ancient varieties were mostly shattering, splitting open at fruit maturity and releasing seeds. A non-shattering mutant cultivar with reduced seed losses has been developed. Four to six weeks are necessary for seeds to mature. The seeds are variable in colour, small and flat with a point at one end. Thousand seeds weigh about 32 g. The lighter coloured seeds are considered of higher quality (Hansen, 2011; Myers, 2002; Sun-Hwang, 2005; Oplinger et al., 2000). White seed varieties are produced in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. Black seed varieties are grown in China and Thailand (Hansen, 2011). Breeding programmes particularly focus on 2 traits: antioxidant factor in sesame oil (sesamol) trait and non-shattering x high yielding trait (Hansen, 2011; Oplinger et al., 2000).

Distribution of sesame

Sesame is one of the oldest oil crop and its use has been recorded in Babylon and Assyria 4000 years ago. It spread from the Fertile Crescent and is now found in many tropical and subtropical areas. It has been cultivated commercially in the USA since the 1950s. The worldwide seed production was 5.5 million t in 2014 (FAO, 2016; Hansen, 2011; Myers, 2002; Sun-Hwang, 2005; Oplinger et al., 2000). Sesame is mainly produced in Africa (3.0 million t) and Asia (2.3 million t). India, Sudan, China, Myanmar and Tanzania account for 80% of world production. China, India, Taiwan, Vietnam and Mexico are the main users (FAO, 2016). In Ethiopia, sesame cake is sold in local markets.

Sesame grows well in areas with long, warm seasons, from 0 to 40° in both hemispheres, under conditions similar to those of cotton crop (Sheahan, 2014; Sun-Hwang, 2005). It does well in most soils but prefers well-drained ones. It is particularly tolerant of drought and extreme heat though it requires good soil moisture for establishment (Sheahan, 2014; Hansen, 2011; Sun-Hwang, 2005). A minimal seasonal rainfall of 500 to 700 mm is necessary for optimal seed yield. Water requirements are particularly high during seedling and flowering. Sesame is intolerant of waterlogging. Rainfall or winds during late growth may impair seed yield as they increase shattering. Moisture occurring at maturity increases fungal attacks. Sesame yield and oil content are positively correlated with photoperiod (Hansen, 2011; Myers, 2002; Sun-Hwang, 2005; Oplinger et al., 2000). Sesame has moderate tolerance of salinity (Sheahan, 2014; Hansen, 2011; Oplinger et al., 2000). Thanks its deep root system, sesame scavenges nutrients from below most crop root systems: it has low input requirements and often grows under conditions where few other crops can survive. These attributes make sesame an excellent candidate for low-input sustainable food systems (Sheahan, 2014).

Uses of Sesame (Sesamum Indicum L)

 Sesame seeds

Sesame is primarily grown for its edible seeds and oil. 65% of sesame seeds are used for oil extraction and 35% for food. Sesame seeds have outstanding amounts of oil and a desirable nutty flavour after cooking. For these reasons, sesame seeds are much appreciated in bakery, candy industry and other food specialties (Hansen, 2011).





  1. oleifera and Sesame indicum was purchased at the main market (Oja Oba) in Owo, Ondo State. The oils was processed in the processing laboratory of Food Science and Technology, the chemicals and glass wares used in extracting the oil from M. oleifera and S. indicum were gotten from Chemistry Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria.




Table 1: Chemical Composition of Sesame and Moringa Seed





Moringa and sesame oil has some very beneficial chemical and physical properties, from the results obtained above: the sesame oil has more nutritional properties compared to moringa oil in terms of ash, fat, protein and fibre content, the moisture content sesame is lower than moringa oil indicating longer shelf life for sesame oil. Although moringa oil has higher CHO compared to sesame oil. The physiochemical properties of both samples, revealed that moringa oil has higher physicochemical properties compared to sesame oil. In conclusion, both samples (moringa and sesame oil) are rich nutritionally and can be used by both young and old.


Based on the above findings, it is therefore recommended that production of moringa and sesame oil should be encouraged by food industries for easy availability and public enlightenment should be given in public places such as conference Hall, Town Hall and so on regarding the importance of moringa and sesame oil.


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