|Abaidoo-ayin, Harold - Delaware State University|
|Lumor, Stephen - Delaware State University|
Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/27/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Njangsa (Ricinodendron heudelotii) is a semi-deciduous plant species indigenous to the coastal nations of West Africa. The seeds from R. heudelotii are used for culinary applications but Njanga oil is currently not produced commercially. Njanga oil however contains a high percentage of heart healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids that could be used for health promoting applications. The objective of this work is to determine the shelf-life of Njangsa oil at room temperature over several weeks so that it can be evaluated for human consumption. Its triglyceride profile was also determined to quantify the levels of alpha-eleostearic acid (alpha-ESA) and verify the previously reported high levels of this conjugated linoleic acid in Njangsa oil. This study could potentially benefit consumers worldwide due to the health promoting properties that result from the high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid in Njangsa oil. It will also benefit the communities in West Africa by commercializing the seed oil of a plant that is indigenous to their country.
Technical Abstract: This study investigated the compositional characteristics and shelf-life of Njangsa seed oil (NSO). Oil from Njangsa had a high polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content of which alpha eleosteric acid (alpha-ESA), an unusual conjugated linoleic acid was the most prevalent (about 52%). Linoleic acid was also present in appreciable amounts (approximately 34%). Our investigations also indicated that the acid-catalyzed transesterification of NSO resulted in lower yields of alpha-ESA methyl esters, due to isomerization, a phenomenon which was not observed under basic conditions. The triacylglycerol (TAG) profile analysis showed the presence of at least one alpha-ESA fatty acid chain in more than 95% of the oil’s TAGs. Shelf-life was determined by the Weibull Hazard Sensory Method, where the end of shelf-life was defined as the time at which 50% of panelists found the flavor of NSO to be unacceptable. This was determined as 21 weeks. Our findings therefore support the potential commercial viability of NSO as an important source of physiologically beneficial PUFAs.