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J Environ Sci Health B. 2007 Jun-Jul;42(5):585-91.

Elemental composition and chemical characteristics of five edible nuts (almond, Brazil, pecan, macadamia and walnut) consumed in Southern Africa.

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  • 1School of Chemistry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.


The total elemental concentrations and proximate chemical composition of five different tree nuts, almond (Prunus dulcus), Brazil (Bertholletia excelsa), pecan (Carya pecan), macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) and walnut (Juglans nigra) that are consumed in South African households were investigated. In addition, six physicochemical properties of the extracted nut oils, namely acid value, iodine value, saponification value, refractive index, density and specific gravity were evaluated. A high concentration of Se (36.1 +/- 0.4 microg g(- 1)) was found in the Brazil nuts only. With maximum and minimum limits being set by the almond and pecan nut samples, Cr ranging from 0.94 +/- 0.14-2.02 +/- 0.07 microg g(- 1) was detected in the nut samples. Generally, the order of the concentrations of the elements in all the nut samples is found to be Mg > Ca > Fe > Cu > Cr > As > Se. The concentrations of Mn and Zn showed greater variation amongst the different types of nuts. The extracted oils showed low acid values and high saponification values with the macadamia nut sample having the highest oil content (76.0 +/- 0.5 g per 100 g of sample), the lowest acid value (0.42 +/- 0.01 mg KOH per g of oil) and highest saponification value (193.7 +/- 2.4 mg KOH per g of oil). The present findings are useful in calculating the Dietary Reference Intakes of these nutrients.

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