Borassus aethiopum (African Palmyra palm) fruits are underutilized but have currently received a great attention in the search for alternative food sources to supplement the current food demands of the increasing world population. Borassus aethiopum fruits flour and other products have been produced successfully in previous works. However, the oil yield and characterization of oil from B. aethiopum kernel had not been evaluated. The main objective of this study therefore, was to extract and characterize the oil from B. aethiopum kernel. The fruit nuts were manually cracked with a machete to obtain the kernels. The kernels were chopped into smaller pieces, dried and milled using the hammer mill. Oil extraction was carried out using the Soxhlet apparatus with petroleum ether as the organic solvent. The physicochemical properties, oil yield and four fatty acids were determined by standard procedures. The results indicated an oil yield of 1.56%, a peroxide value of 4 9 . 8 5 ± 0.17 meqO2/Kg, iodine value of 167.00 ± 2.70 mg I2/g, saponification value of 196.69 ± 0.51 mgKOH/g and FFA of 9.56 ± 0.17%. Also, 6-methyl laurate was the highest among the four detected fatty acids in B. aethiopum kernel oil. Based on the yield obtained, commercial production of B. aethiopum fruit oil may not be economical.

1.0 Introduction
Palmyra palm (Borassus aethiopum Mart) grows in desolate lands inside the vast geographical region from Western Africa to Eastern Indonesia (Agbo and Simard, 1992). The palmyra tree is very beneficial for the populace within the axial regions of Côte d'Ivoire. As a source of food (sap, fruits and immature shoots), over 88 % of the palm tree is utilized for the wellbeing of the general public in these regions. (Waziri et al., 2010). Majority of the palm fruits are not exploited and usually left in the field to deteriorate (Ali et al., 2010). In remote areas, after a period of six (6) to eight (8) weeks of cultivation, undeveloped shoots of palmyra are obtained and consumed as food (Kouamé, 1992; Ali et al., 2010). The palm is part of the Arecaceae family in which the species of socioeconomic significance are Borassus aethiopum Mart (Madagascar and Africa), Borassus sundaicus Becc (Indonesia), as well as Borassus flabellifer L. (Asia, India and Sri Lanka) (Agbo and Simard, 1992).

Averagely, three (3) shoots usually develop from a single palmyra fruit. According to Malumba et al. (2011), „Fallen parts of the fruit normally reproduce the palmyra palm plant whilst the other portion is collected by the natives for food usage. African Palmyra palm tree can be useful in value addition to crops, by employing inventive technologies, including decrease in losses after harvest, thereby enhancing food security, agricultural sustainability and good environmental practices (Beddington, 2010). Tubers of Palmyra serve as valuable source of starch for the indigenes where the plant thrives. The tubers are cooked before consumption and could serves as replacement for various sources of  starch (Barminas et al., 2008).

Research by Ali et al., (2010) indicated that flesh of the fruit is a great source of fiber, minerals, sugars, vitamins A and C. Borassus aethiopum fruits have also been shown to be used for syrups that improve the sensory properties (taste and colour) of foods (Adzinyo et al., 2015). Also, it has been established that Borassus aethiopum fruits could be used in the production of pectin at industrial scale (Assoi et al., 2014). The fruits have been found to have mineral constituents such as sodium, potassium, iron and calcium (Niamké et al., 2013; Arthur, 2018).

According to the study of Abe-Inge et al., (2018), „The Borassus aethiopum fruits have a great potential in flour production for the pastry industry. Although several research works have been conducted on the Borassus aethiopum fruits, little has been done on the fruit kernel. Therefore, the aim of this project was to extract and investigate the quality of Borassus aethiopum fruit kernel oil.

1.1 Problem Statement
Borassus aethiopum fruits are underutilized (Ali et al., 2010; Siaw et al., 2014) and characterization of oil from Borassus aethiopum kernels for food applications have not been evaluated. Also the growing population of the world demands alternative food sources to supplement the already existing food commodities in meeting the potential increase in food demand.

1.2 Justification
Value addition to underutilized African Palmyra palm fruits will gradually reduce postharvest losses, contribute to food security as well as reduce the over dependence on palm oil from other varieties of  palm fruits.

Extraction of African Palmyra palm fruit kernel oils with comparable oil characteristics will serve as an alternative source of oil for domestic and industrial purposes. There is also the possibility of commercially refining it.

1.3 Aim
The aim of this project was to extract and characterize oil from Borassus aethiopum kernel.

1.3.1 Specific objectives
To determine oil yield from Borassus aethiopum kernel.

To determine the acid value, free fatty acid (FFA) content, iodine value, saponification value and peroxide value of Borassus aethiopum kernel oil.

To determine fatty acid composition of Borassus aethiopum kernel oil.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 54 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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