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Impact of post-harvest storage and freezing of palm fruits on the extraction yield and quality of African crude palm oil extracted in the laboratory

Nanda D., Kansci G., Rafflegeau S., Bourlieu C., Ngando Ebongue G.F., Genot C.. 2020. OCL. Oilseeds and Fats, Crops and Lipids, 27 : 12 p..

DOI: 10.1051/ocl/2020046

In the frame of African artisanal small-scale extraction of palm oil, the effects of post-harvest storage time and freezing of palm fruits on the extraction yield and quality of crude palm oil (CPO) were studied at laboratory scale using a process mimicking artisanal extraction. The extraction yield and free fatty acid (FFA) content of CPO increased with the length of fruit storage time at room temperature and freezing. FFA, total fatty acid and triacylglycerol profiles indicated a lack of specificity of the lipases at work. During post-harvest storage, the carotenoid content of CPO decreased slightly, tocopherols and tocotrienols (tocols) remained steady, while lipid oxidation remained at a very low level. For frozen fruits, carotene and tocol contents decreased sharply as a function of storage time, thought remaining quite high, but decreasing amounts of secondary oxidation products were detected. The FFA content and lipid oxidation level were highly correlated, indicating a pro-oxidant effect of FFAs. To conclude, three days of storage prior to artisanal extraction seemed the best trade-off between extraction yield and CPO quality. Combined storage at room temperature and freezing of palm fruits led to a large range of FFA contents in CPO. Optimization of the FFA contents of artisanal CPOs in line with local consumer's demand calls for an assessment of their functional properties and sensory perception of foods formulated with CPOs.

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