Characterization of Namibian Sclerocarya birrea (marula/ondjove) oil
In northern Namibia, Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst (Marula) oil is produced traditionally from the kernel of the Marula fruit by local women of the Awambo tribe for sale in local markets and for household use. The yellow oil, also called locally, ondjove oil, is used for food and cosmetics applications. Various local enterprises, such as the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative based in the town of Ondangwa, are producing cold-pressed virgin Marula oil from the kernels purchased from local women, which is also sold locally and some being exported for the international cosmetics market. The aim of the study was to analyze the physico-chemical properties of Marula oil from Namibia prepared by two different extraction methods as it is a valuable commercial product with potential developments in the food and cosmetics industry. Physico-chemical characterization was carried out for the traditional prepared (MaTrd) and cold-pressed Marula (MaCld) oil. Compositional analysis of the oils was carried out with GC-MS, 13C-NMR and 1HNMR. MaTrd oil had acid value, 1.64 (±0.10) mg KOH/g, saponification value, 186.61 (±0.85) mg KOH/g, iodine value (Hanus), 66.96 (±0.57), peroxide value, 0.186 (±0.006) mequiv/kg, anisidine value, 0.0781 (±0.0341), specific gravity, 0.916 (±0.001), and refractive index, 1.4645 (±0.001). MaCld oil had acid value, 5.16 (±0.057) mg KOH/g, saponification value, 187.94 (±0.55) mg KOH/g, iodine value (Hanus), 70.22 (±1.10), peroxide value, 0.122 (±0.016) mequiv/kg, anisidine value, 0.0797 (±0.0261), specific gravity, 0.914 (±0.003), and refractive index, 1.4645 (±0.003). Fatty acid analysis of MaTrd and MaCld revealed the presence of major fatty acids such as palmitic (16.28% and 16.72%), stearic (14.09% and 13.21%), and oleic acid (66.56% and 67.33%) respectively.
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