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Citrus seed meal


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Citrus seed meal

Taxonomic information 
  • Oranges: Citrus × sinensis (L.) Osbeck
  • Tangerines: Citrus × tangerina Tanaka
  • Mandarin oranges (mandarins, mandarines): Citrus reticulata Blanco
  • Lemons: Citrus × limon
  • Limes: several species, including key lime Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle, limequat Citrus × floridana (J. Ingram & H. Moore) Mabb., Citrus limetta Risso etc.
  • Grapefruits: Citrus × paradisi Macfad.

Citrus seed meal is the by-product of oil extraction of citrus seeds collected in canning plants. The seeds are separated from the waste material, washed and dried. Citrus seeds contain 20-37% oil, depending on the species and cultivar (Waheed et al., 2009). This oil is usually extracted mechanically, resulting in a press cake. In some cases a solvent is used to improve oil recovery (Kesterson et al., 1976; Shahidi et al., 2005).

Crude citrus oils are used for the preparation of detergents and soaps and in the treatment of leather and textiles. Refined edible oils are used for cooking and in products such as margarines, shortenings and salad dressings. They are regarded as a new source of edible oil, especially in some developing countries where oil shortages exist (Shahidi et al., 2005).


Citrus seed meal should be available close to seed oil production units. Citrus seed oil production was relatively important in the USA (Florida) until the 1970s (Braddock et al., 1973). Today, citrus seed oil seems to be mainly produced by small units targeting niche markets.

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

There are limited data on the composition and nutritive value of citrus seed meal. Protein values comprised between 22%  for a grapefruit press cake and 43% for a solvent-extracted meal have been reported. Oil content varies between 15% and 0.1% for the same products (Driggers et al., 1951; Kesterson et al., 1976). The main limiting factor in monogastrics is the presence of limonin. The residual oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids comprising linoleic acid (33-38%), oleic acid (22-26%) and palmitic acid (25-30%) (Shahidi et al., 2005).

Potential constraints 

Limonin is a triterpenoid present in the seeds and skins that imparts a bitter taste to citrus pulp. Limonin is toxic to monogastrics and it has been suggested as the cause of intestinal irritation and poor absorption of nutriments in broilers (El Boushy et al., 2000). Detoxified citrus seed meal has been produced experimentally in the past but apparently not sold commercially (Driggers et al., 1951).


Citrus seed meal fed to growing and fattening beef steers had no toxic effects and was well accepted and beneficial to the animals. It was found to be comparable to cottonseed meal (Glasscock et al., 1950).


Citrus seed meal fed to growing pigs decreased their daily weight gain, even when fed at levels as low as 10% (Glasscock et al., 1950). It caused rough haircoats and unthrifty pigs (Cunha, 1977).


The limonin content makes citrus seed meal unsuitable for poultry. In growing chickens, it was found to reduce growth when included at 5% of the diet and to cause increased mortality at 10% and 20% of the diet. Citrus seed meal could only be used safely up to 20% of the diet after detoxification using diethyl ether, acetone and ethyl alcohol (Driggers et al., 1951).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 86.4 85.0 87.7 2
Crude protein % DM 38.5 33.9 43.0 2
Crude fibre % DM 8.6 7.5 9.6 2
Ether extract % DM 2.9 0.1 5.7 2
Ash % DM 7.1 6.0 8.1 2
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 19.3 *
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 76.7 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 14.8 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Driggers et al., 1951

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:00

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 29.1 1
Crude protein % DM 21.9 1
Crude fibre % DM 13.2 1
Ether extract % DM 12.5 1
Ash % DM 2.1 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 21.5 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 1.8 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 3.0 1
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 69.4 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 14.9 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Devendra et al., 1970

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:28

Datasheet citation 

Tran G., 2015. Citrus seed meal. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/682 Last updated on May 11, 2015, 14:34

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
Image credits