Why bitter is better.
The origins of Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca) included in the genus Prunus in the subfamily Prunoideae in the family Rosaceae are the Central Asia, Western Asia, Iran and Caucasus. Apricot is quite a valuable fruit that can be processed into numerous different products. Not only apricot is consumed in fresh and dried forms throughout the year, but also the seeds of its kernels are utilized in various ways.
The bitter almond is slightly broader and shorter than the sweet almond, and contains about 50% of the fixed oil that occurs in sweet almonds. Cooking oil, benzaldehyde, activated carbon, amygdalin and hydrocyanic acid are obtained from the seeds of apricot. The apricot kernels that are sweet are consumed as dried fruits, whereas those that are bitter are used as raw materials in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Known as a cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin, D(-)-mandelonitrile -gentobioside, is found abundantly in many tissues, and especially seeds of species Prunus.
Apricot seeds contain various amounts of amygdalin depending on cultivars. It is reported that bitter contain higher amygdalin that sweet cultivars (Gomez et al., 1998). Femenia et al(1995) reported that a high amount of amygdalin was found in bitter aprico cultivars, but not in seeds of sweet ones.
These differences in amygdalin content are considered to be due to the differences in the harvest time when the fruit was collected. As a matter of fact, Frehner et al. (1990) reported that the cyanogenic content of seeds might vary significantly throughout maturation and that an increase occurred with maturation in almond seeds.
The conclusion was that seeds of bitter cultivars contained quite a high level of amygdalin than seeds of sweet cultivars, in this case Paviot and Karacabey contained the highest amygdalin content among all apricot cultivars.