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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 25;56(12):4751-9. doi: 10.1021/jf8000982. Epub 2008 May 22.

Oxidative stability of tree nut oils.

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Department of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.


The oxidative stability of selected tree nut oils was examined. The oils of almond, Brazil nut, hazelnut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, and walnut were extracted using two solvent extraction systems, namely, hexane and chloroform/methanol. The chloroform/methanol system afforded a higher oil yield for each tree nut type examined (pine nut had the highest oil content, whereas almond had the lowest). The fatty acid compositions of tree nut oils were analyzed using gas chromatography, showing that oleic acid was the predominant fatty acid in all samples except pine nut and walnut oils, which contained high amounts of linoleic acid. The tocopherol compositions were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography, showing that alpha- and gamma-tocopherols were the predominant tocopherol homologues present; however delta- and beta-tocopherols were also detected in some samples. The oxidative stability of nonstripped and stripped tree nut oils was examined under two conditions, namely, accelerated autoxidation and photooxidation. Progression of oxidation was monitored using tests for conjugated dienes, peroxide value, p-anisidine value, and headspace volatiles. Primary products of oxidation persisted in the earlier stages of oxidation, whereas secondary oxidation product levels increased dramatically during the later stages of oxidation. Hexanal was the major headspace aldehyde formed in all oxidized samples except walnut oil, which contained primarily propanal. Results showed that chloroform/methanol-extracted oils were more stable than hexane-extracted oils in both the accelerated autoxidation and photooxidation studies. Oils of pecan and pistachio were the most stable, whereas oils of pine nut and walnut were the least stable.

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