PhD student in Food Technology Fats and Oils Laboratory - UNICAMP Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Macaúba (Acrocomia aculeata) is one of the most promising palm trees in Brazil as a source of oil for food, cosmetics and biofuels industry, due to its high productivity. The objective of this work was to characterize macauba pulp oil through official methodologies for fatty acid composition, iodine and saponification index, triacylglycerol composition, free fatty acids, peroxide index, chlorophyll content, carotenoids and thermal behavior (DSC) analysis. The fatty acid composition was mostly saturated and composed by 17.70% palmitic acid, 57.31% oleic acid and 16.30% linoleic acid. Corresponding to this result, the triacylglycerol composition presented high levels of monosaturated (38.85%), dissaturated (28.61%), followed by triunsaturated (21.53%) and finally, lower proportion of trisaturated triacylglycerols (11.01%). The main quality parameters evaluated indicated average values of 5.24mEq O2.kg-1 for the peroxide index and 2.47% for free fatty acids. The analyzes of chlorophyll and carotenoids content presented average values of 0.569 mg.kg-1 and 267.17mg.kg-1, respectively. The thermal behavior indicated initial and final crystallization temperature at -51.91oC and -3.08oC respectively; and melting range from -19.82°C to 27.78°C. In general, macauba pulp oil shows great potential for technological application, due to its specific composition and high productivity.