chestnut burs

A recently published study analyzes chestnut burs for their nutritional composition and suggests these burs as valuable ingredients for medicinal and cosmetic use.


It is important to maintain environmental sustainability when considering use of natural resources. As a result, efficient sources of vitamins and minerals found in nature that can be used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes are beneficial, both economically and environmentally. A study published by The Royal Society of Chemistry assesses the use of Castaneasativa (chestnut) burs, by-products of chestnuts, as sources of natural products that can be implemented in synthesis of medicine and cosmetics.

The chestnut bur samples were collected from three different regions in Portugal: Minho, Trás-os-Montes, and Beira-Alta. The burs were collected and stored after the fruit had been dried for a 4-week period. The burs were tested for moisture content, ash content, protein content, total fat, and carbohydrate content. Presence of vitamin E and amino acids was also individually tested.

The chestnut burs were found to be rich in macronutrients. Results indicated that the moisture content ranged from 15.5% up to 26.9%, depending on the region that the bur was obtained from. The protein content was relatively low, ranging from 2.22% to 3.16%. Ash content remained the highest in the sample collected from Minho. Carbohydrates made up 60-80% of the composition of the by-product. The amino acid content of the burs varied depending on the region but burs from all regions were consistent in containing the essential amino acids arginine and leucine. In the non-essential amino acids category, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and proline held a dominating presence. In the burs, 8 chemical forms of vitamin E were also detected.

The results of this study indicate that the chestnut burs, which are traditionally considered to be waste by-products of chestnuts, are highly valuable natural sources of several chemical compounds. Use of these burs for medicinal and cosmetic purposes would reduce environmental waste and lower production costs as well. With confirmation from further study, this by-product can be highly beneficial for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries.


Written By: Shrishti Ahuja, BSc

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