Roche J., Mouloungui Z., Bouniols A., Bachar ZEBIB, MERAH Othmane
Phytosterols draw their origin from plants (oilcrops and cereals seeds, vegetables, fruits, nuts). Their chemical structures and their biological functions are similar with those of cholesterol. Efficiency of phytosterols and their saturated homologues (phytostanols) on the reduction of high cholesterol level is proven and confers to them uses as functional ingredients. In nonfood industries, the molecular volume of the triterpenic skeleton of phytosterols, as in the case of cholesterol, is exploited for many uses particularly as a hydrophobic part in production of polydisperse “new surfactants”.
Due to their physicochemical behaviour to the air/water interfaces, phytosterols are good raw materials for the development of liquid crystals and original biological and pharmaceutical applications. At native state, phytosterols have however low and variable biological levels in seeds. Taking into account the possibilities of chemical modifications and industrial development prospects of phytostérols and their derivatives, selection of varieties associated with the management of crop and wild plants cultural practices represents an interesting way to improve phytosterols content and to modify their component composition to answer to a scheme of vegetable refinery guided by the added value guaranteed by the presence of these minor components.