Ericsem Pereira

and 5 more

1. IntroductionThe Brazilian Amazon region is rich in oleaginous plant species. Vegetable oils and fats produced by these species have unique compositions, as well as physicochemical and nutraceutical properties (Bezerra, Rodrigues, de Oliveira, da Silva, & da Silva, 2017). In fact, species such as the palm tree (Elaeis guineensis ) are economically important for the region since they are widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries (Edem, 2002). However, the great demand for natural oils and fats has brought attention to other matrices.The seed of Brazil nut tree (Bertholletiaexcelsa ) is considered one of the major economically and industrially relevant Amazonian seeds, presenting a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, which provides its oil with interesting nutritional characteristics (Chunhieng, Hafidi, Pioch, Brochier, & Didier, 2008).Murumuru (Astrocaryum murumuru ) is a native plant from the Amazon forest; its nuts present an exceptionally high oil content, around 40%, with a beneficial fatty acids (FA) ratio of ω3:ω6,attracting the interest of the fats and oils industry (Pereira Lima et al., 2017).Tucuma (Astrocaryum vulgare ) is also a native species, from north and northeast of Brazil, with fruits consisting of two main oleaginous fractions, the pulp and the kernel. While the pulp produces an orange oil rich in polyunsaturated FA, the kernel produces a fat rich in lauric and myristic acid (Bora, Narain, Rocha, De Oliveira Monteiro, & De Azevedo Moreira, 2001).Bacuri (Platonia insignis ), another Amazonian vegetable matrix, produces fruits composed of three main fractions: pulp, shell, and seed. The pulp can be consumed with either raw or processed foods such as juices, ice cream and jams. While the composition of bacuri fruit pulp oil has already been evaluated in the literature (Hiane, Bogo, Ramos, & Ramos Filho, 2003), a study of the composition and physical properties of the fat extracted from their seeds has not been subject of any previous report.Pracaxi (Pentaclethramacroloba ) is a northern Brazilian oil seed plant. Its fruits contain 4 to 8 seeds from which oil is extracted. This oil has a high content of ω6 and ω9 FA, and is considered a natural source of behenic acid (Pereira Lima et al., 2017).Patawa (Oenocarpusbataua ) is a lesser known palm tree from the Amazon region. The oil extracted from its pulp has a healthy FA content, presenting a ratio of 18.5/81.5 (w/w) saturated/unsaturated FA (A. M. da C. Rodrigues, Darnet, & Silva, 2010).Characterization of the physical properties of these fats and oils is essential in order to promote their industrial application. These properties are in general directly related to the lipids’ triacylglycerol (TAG) composition. Furthermore, determining technological aspects, such as melting and crystallization profiles, are also quite important to develop fat-based food products (Walstra, Kloek, & van Vliet, 2001). In this context, blends of fats and oils are interesting alternatives for broadening industrial applications of Amazon fats and oils, building specific physicochemical characteristics and thermal behaviors.Given the demand for new fats and oils, and the scarce amount of research on physical properties of Amazon oils, this study was aimed at the characterization of physical and physicochemical properties of six vegetable fats and oils: murumuru fat, bacuri fat, tucuma kernel oil, patawa oil, pracaxi oil, and Brazil nut oil, correlating them with their triacylglycerol (TAG) profiles. Melting and crystallization behavior of multiple blends was also investigated in order to identify potential applications.