The pulp of avocado (Persea americana, Lauraceae) has been reported to have beneficial cardiovascular health effects. Avocado oil is used for dermatological applications and its unsaponifiable portion is reported to have beneficial effects against osteoarthritis. Although the seed represents a considerable percentage of the total fruit, scientific research on the phytochemistry and biological effects of avocado seeds is in the nascent stages,. Currently, the seed represents an under-utilized resource and a waste issue for avocado processors. There is ethno-pharmacological information on the use of seeds for the treatment of health-related conditions, especially in South American countries where avocados are endemic and currently grown on a large scale. Current research has shown that avocado seeds may improve hypercholesterolemia, and be useful in the treatment of hypertension, inflammatory conditions and diabetes. Seeds have also been found to possess insecticidal, fungicidal, and anti-microbial activities. The avocado seeds and rich in phenolic compounds, and these may play a role in the putative health effects. Historically, extracts of avocado seeds were also used as ink for writing and research in our laboratory has explored the potential colorant properties of a polyphenol oxidase-produced colored avocado seed extract. Here, we review the currently-available data on the bioactivity and other functional properties of avocado seeds. We discuss the strength of the available data, the putative active compounds, and potential directions for future studies.
Keywords: Avocado, Persea americana, phenolic compounds, human health, seed.