Quality of palm oil determines its consumer and market acceptability and price. This correlates directly to its moisture (%), free fatty acid (% FFA) and total fatty matter (%TFM) content. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the quality of low free fatty acid (LFFA) and high free fatty acid (HFFA) crude palm oil (CPO) samples aged 5 to 10 days, purchased from four locations in Southern Nigeria. HFFA CPO is produced using traditional methods while LFFA CPO is produced by modern milling methods. The oil samples were analyzed for quality and fatty acid using standard analytical methods. The results obtained showed that FFA and total contaminants were significantly (p<0.05) lower in LFFA and higher in HFFA CPO samples. The values of FFA were significantly (P<0.05) higher in HFFA (9.25±0.70-12.76±1.20%) when compared to LFFA CPO values (2.44±0.30-2.95±0.08%). No significant (p>05) difference was observed in the mean saponification value of LFFA (198.95±0.80 mg KOH/g oil) and HFFA CPO (198.62±0.40 mg KOH/g oil). TFM for LFFA CPO ranged between 91.94±0.40 - 92.45±0.75% suggesting no significant (p>0.05) variability in TFM values for LFFA CPO. TFM values for HFFA CPO were significantly (P<0.05) lower and varied between 81.06±0.64 and 85.16±1.05%. The palmitic acid in HFFA CPO was 44.670±0.85 and 45.641±1.77% in LFFA CPO. Oleic acid content was 37.370±0.92% in HFFA oil and 39.005±1.06% in LFFA oil. It was concluded that CPO is rich in SFAs, MUFAs and PUFAs. The ratio of TSFAs to TUFAs for both LFFA and HFFA CPO is 1:1.
Key words: Quality, crude palm oil, free fatty acid, total fatty matter, fatty acids, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
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