Piqui (pequi) oil


Caryocar brasiliense Cambess. Caryocaraceae

INCI: Caryocar brasiliense fruit oil

Purpose: dry and combination skin, anti-age cosmetics, fragrant addition to emulsion systems, hair treatments

Price: expensive oil

The secret of healing: carotenoids: violaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin

My remark: a truly exotic addition from the Amazon, a completely unique scent and an exotic source of carotenoids for luxury cosmetics.

Oral use: rare.

Piqui, pequi, souari are the names for an unusual plant of the Brazilian “cerrado” area. It is a tree that grows up to 10 meters in height, with very striking flowers with an unpleasant scent. Beautiful flowers are pollinated by bats and sometimes hummingbirds. The fruits are a delicacy of intense taste and are used in both meat dishes with rice and fruit cocktails. The pulp of the fruit is greasy, a bit of the consistency of avocado, but the fruit itself is the size of an orange. The colour of the ripe fruit is greenish, which later turns orange due to the presence of carotenoids. Piqui is an important source of carotenoids in the diet in its native environment. Piqui is endangered in its habitat due to other imported crops and the promotion of this oil in cosmetics contributes to the preservation of this valuable indigenous species.

According to the fatty acid chemistry, piqui would not be an interesting species. Two non-essential fatty acids, oleic and palmitic, are dominant. The high content of palmitic acid gives this oil a very viscous consistency that can also be pasty at a lower room temperature, similar to butter. The real value of piqui oil is the presence of various carotenoids.

According to [8], these are violaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and to a lesser extent β-cryptoxanthin, β-carotene and neoxanthin are also present. According to the data, the total carotenoid content is a very high 274.9mg/kg. In addition to carotenoides, there are also (poly) phenols, its content is 229.1mg/kg.

The high content of polyphenols and carotenoids is always interesting: skin regeneration, anti-age cosmetics, skin prone to inflammation and redness. There are a lot of applications. Think biochemically- it’s wise to mix oils where only β-carotene (sea-buckthorn pulp oil, buriti oil) dominates, with different types of carotenoids like piqui. Because of these types of carotenoids, the oil itself is less red than the average oil like buriti, so it can be interesting for oil serums.

Piqui is a great addition to the cosmetics for the eye area. It is also interesting combine it with American cranberry, red raspberry seed oil and tamanu oil, either in serums or in emulsion systems.

In addition to the interesting composition of carotenoids, piqui has an intriguing fruity and exotic scent that is less pronounced in emulsion systems, and more intense in oil serums. We even know the chemistry of this fragrance- it is a cocktail of ethyl hexanoate, ethyl octanoate, tetra-hydrofurfuryl alcohol, ethyl butanoate, butyl palmitate and a whole host of other compounds.

Quality requirement

It is impossible to form it due to lack of references. The following data on average content (%) according to [1] and [6] have been published:

    • C16:0 palmitic acid 34.5; 44.3
    • C18:1 oleic acid 65.5; 48.7
    • C18:2 linoleic acid 0; 4.4
Useful references
    • Comparative properties of Amazonian oils obtained by different extraction methods. Ferreira BS, de Almeida CG, Faza LP, de Almeida A, Diniz CG, da Silva VL, Grazul RM, Le Hyaric M. Molecules. 2011 Jul 13;16(7):5875-85.
    • Paradoxical effect of a pequi oil-rich diet on the development of atherosclerosis: balance between antioxidant and hyperlipidemic properties. Aguilar EC, Jascolka TL, Teixeira LG, Lages PC, Ribeiro AC, Vieira EL, Peluzio MC, Alvarez-Leite JI. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2012 Jul;45(7):601-9. Epub 2012 May 10.
    • Caryocar brasiliense supercritical CO2 extract possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties useful for personal care products. Amaral LF, Moriel P, Foglio MA, Mazzola PG. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Feb 24;14:73.
    • Aroma volatiles of pequi fruit ( Caryocar brasiliense Camb.) Maia, José Guilherme S.; Andrade, Eloisa Helena A.; da Silva, Milton Helio L. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis , Volume 21 (7) – Nov 1, 2008
    • Traditional Knowledge and Management of Caryocar coriaceum Wittm. ( Pequi ) in the Brazilian Savanna, Northeastern Brazil 1 José, Sousa Júnior; Ulysses, Albuquerque; Nivaldo, Peroni Economic Botany , Volume 67 (3) – Sep 1, 2013
    • Triacylglycerol analysis of pequi ( Caryocar brasiliensis Camb.) oil by electrospray and tandem mass spectrometry Segall, Sérgio D; Artz, William E; Raslan, Délio S; Ferraz, Vany P; Takahashi, Jacqueline A Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture , Volume 86 (3) – Feb 1, 2006
    • Thermal stability studies of some cerrado plant oils C., Garcia; P., Franco; T., Zuppa; N., Antoniosi Filho; M., Leles Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry , Volume 87 (3) – Mar 1, 2007
    • Confirmation of the identity of the carotenoids of tropical fruits by HPLC-DAD and HPLC-MS Azevedo-Meleiro, Cristiane H.; Rodriguez-Amaya, Delia B. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis , Volume 17 (3) – Jun 1, 2004


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