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Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365

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Characteristics and chemical composition of date palm (Phoenix canariensis)

seeds and seed oil
I. Nehdi a, , S. Omri b , M.I. Khalil a , S.I. Al-Resayes a

Chemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
Laboratory of Lipids Corps, National Institute of Research and Physico-Chemical Analysis (INRAP), Technical Pole, 2020 Sidi Thabet, Ariana, Tunisia

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 18 January 2010
Received in revised form 24 May 2010
Accepted 25 May 2010

Phoenix canariensis
Date seed oil
Fatty acid composition
Chemical and physical parameters

a b s t r a c t
Studies were conducted on properties of seeds and oil extracted from fully ripened Phoenix canariensis
date seeds. The percentage composition of the P. canariensis seeds found is: ash 1.18%, oil 10.36%, protein
content 5.67%, total carbohydrate 72.59% and moisture 10.20%. The major nutrients (mg/100 g of oil)
determined were: potassium (255.43), magnesium (62.78), calcium (48.56) and phosphorus (41.33). The
physicochemical properties of the oil observed include: the saponication number 191.28; the iodine
number 76.66, the p-anisidine value 3.67; the peroxide value 3.62 meq/kg; the unsaponiable matter
content 1.79%, the free fatty acids content 0.59%; the carotenoid content 5.51 mg/100 g; the chlorophyll
content 0.10 mg/100 g and the refractive index 1.45. The main fatty acids of oil were oleic (50.10%),
linoleic (19.23%), lauric (10.24%). palmitic (9.83%) and stearic (7.51%). The main triacylglycerols found in
P. canariensis seed oil were: LaMM + LaLaP (18.9%), LaMP + MMM (15.31%) and LaOO + PLL + MPL (12.86%).
The DSC melting curves revealed that: melting point = 3.71 C and melting enthalpy = 62.08 J/g. The sterol
marker, -sitosterol, accounted for 76.06% of the total sterols content in the seed oil followed by campesterol (8.89%) and 5 avenesterol (8.79%). -Tocotrienol was the major tocol (66%) with the rest being
-tocotrienol and -tocopherol.
2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Much attention has recently been focused on the seed oil from
different vegetable species such as Moringa oleifera (Lalas and
Tsaknis, 2002), hemp (Oomah et al., 2002), prickly pear (Ennouri
et al., 2005), Pinus pinea L. (Nasri et al., 2005), Bauhinia purpurea
L. (Ramadan et al., 2006), Echinacea (Oomah et al., 2006), Maclura
pomifera (Fatnassi et al., 2009), Spartium junceum L. (Cerchiara et al.,
2010). Scientists of various specialities invest to highlight their new
product and its industrial application as cooking oil or for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes and nowadays as bio-fuel sources
(Giannelos et al., 2005; Ramadhas et al., 2005).
To our knowledge so far nobody has investigated the potencies
of the Phoenix canariensis date seed oil. The mean date seed oils
extracted and studied were from different species of the Phoenix
Dactylifera genus (Al-Showiman, 1990; Devshony et al., 1992; AlShahib and Marshall, 2003; Besbes et al., 2004, 2005).
Phoenix is the family name of 17 of palm species (canariensis,
dactylifera, reclinata, sabal, rupicola,. . .) (Burnie et al., 2006). It is a
member of the palmae family. Its native to the Canary Islands which
are located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northeast Africa.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +966 14697118; fax: +966 14675997.

E-mail address: (I. Nehdi).
0926-6690/$ see front matter 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

These stately palms are popular landscape items in near frost-free

climates around the world. This palm is very slow growing when
young, yet once the trunk reaches its full diameter the growth rate
increases and it fertilizes in spring and summer. It is tolerant to
most well drained soils. The P. canariencis is a palm tree which is
frequently planted for its ornamental qualities. This palm is best
used along boulevards, on campuses and in parks. The mature P.
canariensis dates are of red colour and contain a seed nearly 1 cm
long. Fruits are not toxic but have an unpleasant taste which renders
them unt for consumption. The use of date pits for animal feed in
the traditional way is still likely the most common practice.
The present study is a modest attempt to shed light on the chemical composition of the new oil extracted from the date seed of
P. canariensis grown in Tunisia, and to determine its nutritive and
industrial uses.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Seed material
The fruits date of P. canariensis was collected in June from the
same area (La Goulette) in the North of Tunisia. La Goulette is
located in: latitude 50 36 N; longitude 18 10 E; elevation 1 m. Fifteen date trees were sampled and about 50 kg of mature red dates
were collected. The seeds were directly isolated and then hand-

I. Nehdi et al. / Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365

picked to eliminate the damaged ones. The selected seeds were

soaked in water, then washed to remove any adhering date esh
and nally oven-dried at 60 C for 24 h. Their relative percentage
weight compared with the weight of the fresh fruits was about
18.34%. The dried seeds were milled in Basic IKA Werke Mill (MF10)
then sieved using a 1 mm mesh sieve and stored at 15 C.
2.2. The analytical methods
Analysis was carried out in triplicate. The values of different parameters were expressed as the mean standard deviation
(x S.D).
2.2.1. Chemical analysis of powdered seeds
Ash and mineral contents were determined by carbon removal
of about 2 g powdered seed witch was ignited and incinerated in
a mufe furnace at about 550 C for 2 h. The ask was removed
from heat and left to cool. Two milliliters of H2 O2 were added and
the ask was put back in the mufe furnace for further incineration over 1 h. The total ash was expressed as percentage of dry
weight. The mineral constituents (Ca, Na, K, Fe and Mg) present in
P. canariensis seed were analyzed, using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (NOUVA400, ANALYTIKJENA, Germany) and a ame
ionization spectrophotometer (Flame Photometer 410, SCHERWOOD, Germany). The phosphorus content (P) was determined
by the spectrophotometric molybdovanadate method according to
AOAC 970.39 (1990). Moisture was determined according to the
AOAC 930.15 (1990) (AOAC, 1999); the results are expressed in
percentage. Total protein was determined by the Kjeldahl method.
Protein was calculated using the general factor (6.25) (El Shurafa
et al., 1982). Data were expressed as percent of dry weight. Carbohydrate content was estimated by difference of mean values:
100-(sum of percentages of moisture, ash, protein and lipids) (AlHooti et al., 1998; Barminas et al., 1999). Oil was extracted from
seeds using hexane as follows. The ground dried P. canariensis seeds
(40 g) were placed into a cellulose paper cone and extracted with
400 ml hexane using a soxhlet extraction apparatus for 8 h. The
solvent was removed via a rotary vacuum distillation at 4050 C
ushing with nitrogen to blanket the oil during storage. The residue
was weighed and stored at 20 C until it was analyzed. The weight
of the oil extracted from 40 g of the seed powder was determined
to calculate the lipid content. The result was expressed as the lipid
percentage in the dry seed powder.
2.2.2. Physical analysis of the oil
The refractive index of the seed oil was determined using a
Sopelem Series 3296 refractometer (Sopelem, France). The chlorophylls and carotenoids absorbencies at 670, 610, 560, 535 nm
and at 475, 448, 414 nm, respectively were measured for a 10%
(v/v) solution of oil in hexane using a spectrophotometer (JASCO
V-530, WITEG Labortechnik., Gmbh). The chlorophyll pigment
was determined according to AOCS Ofcial Method Cc 13i-96
(AOCS, 1998), and nally the carotenoid content was determined according to AOAC ofcial method (958.05). Carotenoid
content, expressed as micrograms of -carotene per gram of
oil, was performed by applying calibration curve constructed
by preparing solutions of increasing concentration, from 0.5 to
2.5 g -carotene/ml hexane. The absorbance was recorded at
440 nm using hexane as blank. The oil was diluted with hexane
to bring the absorbance reading within the range of the calibration
curve. Finally, the thermal characteristics of P. canariensis seed oil
were measured by using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC131, SETARAM, France). A ow of nitrogen gas (1.5 ml/min) was
used in the cell cooled by helium (1.5 ml/min) in a refrigerated
cooling system. The instrument was calibrated for temperature
and heat ow with mercury (melting point, m.p. = 38.834 C,


Table 1
Norm of chemical parameters of Phoenix canariensis.


Saponication value (mg KOH/g oil)

Para-anisidine value
Peroxyde value (mg O2 /Kg oil)
Acid value
Unsaponiable matter
Iodine value

ISO 3657
ISO 6885
ISO 3960
ISO 660
ISO 3961
ISO 3596

H = 11.469 J/g), tin (m.p. = 231.928 C, H = 60.22 J/g), indium

(melting point, m.p. = 156.598 C, H = 28.5 J/g) and lead (melting
point, m.p. = 327.45 C, H = 24.72 J/g). The oil samples (45 mg)
were weighed in open solid fat index (SFI) aluminum pans (No.
S08/HBB37408, SETARAM) with an empty pan used as a reference. The sample and reference pans were then placed inside the
calorimeter and kept at 70 C for 2 min. The temperature was
increased from 70 to 70 C at a rate of 5 C/min. The samples were
then kept at 70 C for 1 min, and then decreased again, at the same
rate, down to 70 C. The scans were performed at 5 C/min.
2.2.3. Chemical analysis of the oil
The peroxide, para-anisidine, acidity (percentage of free fatty
acid was calculated as oleic acid), iodine, saponication and
unsaponiable values were determined according to the Norm ISO
(Table 1). Fatty acid composition. The fatty acid methyl esters (FAME)
composition was determined by converting the oil to fatty acid
methyl esters by addition of 1 ml of n-hexane to 40 mg of oil followed by 200 l of sodium methoxide (2 M). The mixture is heated
in the bath at 50 C for few seconds followed by adding 200 l HCl
(2 N). The top layer (1 l) was injected onto a GC (Agilent 6890N, CA,
USA) equipped with a ame ionization detector (FID) and a polar
capillary column (HP-Innowax polyethylene glycol, 0.25 mm internal diameter, 30 min length and 0.25 m lm in thickness) to obtain
individual peaks of fatty acid methyl esters. The detector temperature was 275 C and the column temperature was 150 C held for
1 min and increased at the rate of 15 C/min to 200 C and the rate
of 2 C/min to 250 C and held for 4 min. The run time was 45 min.
The fatty acid methyl esters peaks were identied comparing their
retention times with individual standard FAME (approximately 99%
pure purchased from Supelco, USA) and analyzed with the Agilent
Technologies Chemstation A09.01 Software. The relative percentage of the fatty acid was calculated on the basis of the peak area
of a fatty acid species to the total peak area of all the fatty acids
in the oil sample. Fatty acid methyl esters peak identication was
conrmed by GCMS (NIST 2002 database) operating under similar
conditions as used for the GCFID. Triacylglycerols composition. The triacylglycerols (TAGs)
prole was obtained by a reverse phase high performance liquid
chromatography (HPLC) (Agilent 1100, CA, USA) equipped with a
G1354 quaternary pump, a G1313A standard auto sampler, and
a G1362A refractive index detector. The chromatogram was carried out using Agilent Technology Chemstation software. The TAGs
were separated using a commercially packed Hypersil ODS column (125 mm 4 mm) with a particle size of 3 m and were eluted
from the column with a mixture of acetonitrile/acetone (65/35) at
a ow rate of 0.5 ml/min; the TAG was detected with a refractive
index detector. Ten microliter of 0.05 g oil diluted in 1 ml (chloroform/acetone 50/50, v/v) was injected into the HPLC. The total run
time was 45 min. Due to the limitation of commercially available
TAGs standard, the identied TAGs of P. canariensis seed oil were
concluded by comparing the retention time of standard TAGs peak
and the retention time of other oils (coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil,


I. Nehdi et al. / Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365

corn oil, and sunower oil) chromatographs obtained under similar

analytical conditions. Tocols composition. Prior to the HPLC analysis, the seed oil
0.5 g was diluted with 5 ml hexane and 5 l samples were injected.
The tocols composition of P. canariensis seed oil was determined
using HPLC according to norm ISO 9936. The sample was analyzed by an HPLC (Agilent 1100, CA, USA) consisting of a G1354
quaternary pump, a G1313A standard auto sampler, a G1321A
uorescence detector set at ( excitation = 295 nm, and  emission = 330 nm) and a chemstation software. A normal phase column
(Pinnacle II silica) (150 mm 3.2 mm 3 m) was used with hexane/isopropanol (99.5/0.5, v/v) as a mobile phase. The system was
operated isocratically at a ow rate of 0.5 ml/min. The separations
were carried out at 30 C. The mixed tocopherol standards in a
hexane solution (2 mg/ml) were prepared from the standard compounds: -, -, -, and the -tocopherols (Sigma Chemical Co., St.
Louis, MO, USA). Tocotrienols peaks of P. canariensis seed oil were
identied by comparison with tocols chromatograms of coconut oil
and palm oil obtained under similar analytical conditions. Gas chromatography analysis of sterols (ST). Separation of
sterols was performed according to ISO 12228 method. Lipids
(250 mg) were reuxed for 15 min with 5 ml ethanolic KOH solution
(3%, w/v) after addition of cholesterol (1 mg; Fluka) as an internal standard and a few antibumping granules. The mixture was
immediately diluted with 5 ml of ethanol. The unsaponiable part
was eluted over a glass column packed with slurry of aluminium
oxide (Scharlau) in ethanol (1:2, w/v) with 5 ml of ethanol and
30 ml of diethyl ether at a ow rate of 2 ml/min. The extract was
evaporated in a rotary evaporator at 40 C under reduced pressure, and then ether was completely evaporated under a steam
of nitrogen. For the characterization of sterols, a silica gel F254
plate (Fluka) was developed in the solvent system n-hexane/diethyl
ether (1:1, v/v). For the detection of sterols, the thin-layer plate was
sprayed with methanol; the sterol bands were scraped from the
plate and recovered by extraction with diethyl ether. The sterols
trimethylsilyl ether (TMS) derivatives were prepared by adding
100 l of a silylant reagent N-methyl-N-(trimethylsilyl) triuoroacetamide/pyridine (1/10, v/v) in a capped glass vial and heated
at 105 C for 15 min.
Preparation of standard solutions: a mixture of standard solutions
of sterols was prepared by derivatization. The sterols trimethylsilyl ether derivatives were analyzed using the GC system (Agilent
6890N, CA, USA) equipped with a FID and the GC chemstation
software. A HP-5 (5% pheynyl methyl polysiloxane column) was
used (0.32 mm i.d. 30 m in length; 0.25 m lm in thickness; an
Agilent 19091J-413, CA, USA). The carrier gas (helium) ow was
1.99 ml/min (splitsplitless injection with a split ratio of 1:200).
The detector and the injector were set at 320 C, and the injected
volume was 1 l. The total analyses were set at 71 min to ensure
the elution of all ST. The operational conditions were: injector temperature 320 C, column temperature: a gradient of 4 C/min from
240 to 255 C. Sterols peak identication was carried out according
to the ISO 12228 reference method and conrmed by GCMS (NIST
2002 database) operating under similar conditions as used for the
3. Results and discussion
3.1. The chemical composition of date seeds
Table 2 presents the average compositions of P. canariensis
date seeds. Date pits contained 10.20% of moisture, 1.18% ash,
72.59% carbohydrate, and crude protein and the fat contents (dry
weight basis) were 5.67% and 10.36%, respectively. These results

Table 2
Chemical composition, physical and chemical properties from seeds and seed oil of
Phoenix canariensis.
Chemical composition of seeds
Moisture content (%)
Oila dry matter (%)
Ash dry matter (%)

10.20 0.25
10.36 0.29
1.18 0.02
5.67 0.15
72.59 0.28
255.43 0.02
62.78 0.18
48.56 0.56
41.33 0.66
8.77 0.22
3.21 0.34

Properties of seed oil

Saponication number
Iodine number (g/100 g of oil)
Free fatty acids (oleic acid %)
p-Anisidine value
Peroxide value (meq O2 /Kg of oil)
Unsaponiable matter (%)
Index of refraction
-Carotene (mg/kg of oil)
Chlorophyll (mg/kg of oil)
Physical state at room temperature

191.28 0.50
76.66 0.28
0.59 0.02
3.67 0.18
3.62 0.56
1.79 0.22
1.456 0.01
5.51 + 0.03
0.10 + 0.02


Oil = weight of extracted oil 100/weight of seed.

Protein = (N(%) 6.25).
Carbohydrate obtained by difference.
In mg/100 g of dry matter.

are comparable with those of the date pits of P. dactyliferia L. family reported by Besbes et al., 2004. The date seeds also contained
signicant amount of important minerals (Table 2). The potassium
concentration was the highest, followed in descending order by
magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and iron. Such a chemical composition reveals the valuable potencies of such a date
3.2. Physical properties of date seed oil
At room temperature P. canariensis seed oil is a yellow liquid
having refractive index of 1.456 (Table 2). Concerning the thermal prole, the DSC method is used to study different triglycerides
formed in P. canariensis seed oil and the thermogram seemed
to correspond to one triglyceride (Fig. 1). P. canariensis seed oil
exhibited a melting peak (3.71 C), a melting enthalpy (62.08 J/g)
and an onset temperature (13.64 C). The melting point of P.
canariensis seed oil is higher than M. pomifera (Fatnassi et al., 2009).
This difference is likely due to P. canariensis seed oils high saturated fatty acids content compared to the M. pomifera seed oil
(Table 3).
Crude P. canariensis seed oil exhibited an absorbance in the
UV-C (100290 nm) and UV-B (290320 nm) range (Fig. 2). Thus,
P. canariensis seed oil may be used in formulation of UV protectors that provide protection against both UV-B and UV-A. The
optical transmission of P. canariensis seed oil, especially in the
UV range (290400 nm) is comparable to that of raspberry seed
oil (Oomah et al., 2000) and M. pomifera seed oil (Fatnassi et al.,
The low absorbance at 232 nm (0.35) can be explained by the
presence of a minute quantity of hydroperoxides of the linoleic acid
and other decomposition products. However, the weak absorbance
at 268 nm (0.060) indicates the absence of the secondary products of oxidation and specially -diketones or -unsaturated
ketones. These results are in agreement with the low values of
the peroxide and p-anisidine values (Table 2). Green pigments,
particularly chlorophyll content, usually measured at 630, 670

I. Nehdi et al. / Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365


Fig. 1. DSC prole of Phoenix canariensis seed oil.

and 730 nm, was negligible (0.103 mg/kg; Table 2) as indicated by

very low absorbance in the 600750 nm range for P. canariensis
seed oil. However, the strong absorbance in the 418470 nm range
indicates the presence of an important quantity of carotenoids
(5.51 mg/100 g of oil; Table 2) which is responsible for the yellow colour of the P. canariensis seed oil. Carotenoids are benecial,
since they simulate the appearance of butter without the use of
primary colourants such as carotenes, annattos, and apocarotenals commonly used in the oil and fat industry (Oomah et al.,

Table 3
Fatty acid composition of Phoenix canariensis seed oil (%).
Fatty acid

Composition (%)


0.08 0.02
0.11 0.03
10.24 0.12
7.51 0.10
0.07 0.02
9.83 0.12
0.15 0.05
1.66 0.03
0.19 0.08
0.09 0.01
0.02 0.01
0.02 0.01

C16:1 9
C16:1 7
C18:1 9
C18:1 11
C20:1 11

0.03 0.01
0.07 0.02
0.06 0.01
0.08 0.02
50.00 0.39
0.10 0.03
0.32 0.04
0.02 0.01


19.23 0.29
0.11 0.03
29.97 0.60
50.69 0.53
19.34 0.32

SAFA, saturated fatty acids.

MUFA, monoinsatureted fatty acids.
PUFA, polyinsatureted fatty acid.

Fig. 2. Ultra violet/visible spectra of Phoenix canariensis seed oil (gure derived from
scans). ( = 200290 nm) of oil diluted 1:1000; from scans ( = 290400 nm) of oil
diluted 1:100 and from scans ( = 400800 nm) of oil diluted 1:10, all in hexane.

3.3. Chemical properties and composition of date seed oil

Table 2 presents the chemical properties of P. canariensis seed
oil. The latter shows a low iodine value (76.66) due to its high content of saturated fatty acids (Table 4). The high saponication value
(191.28) of the P. canariensis seed oil indicates very high content of
low molecular weight triacylglycerols. It is similar to the saponication value of canola oil (Eskin et al., 1996) and raspberry seed oil
(Oomah et al., 2000).
The acid, peroxide and p-anisidine value of P. canariensis seed
oil showed very low values (as crude seed oil) of 0.59, 3.62 and
3.60; this suggests that the oil can be stored for a long period without deterioration (Ojeh, 1981). The total oxidation value (totox)
of 10.84 was calculated using determined values for peroxide and
p-anisidine (2Px + Av) (Oomah et al., 2000). This is comparable
to those of vegetables oils (Shukla and Perkins, 1998). The low
totox and acid value supports the view that this oil is an edible
oil. Nonetheless, the oil showed a low unsaponiable matter of


I. Nehdi et al. / Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365

3.3.1. Fatty acids composition

The fatty acid composition of P. canariensis seed oil is presented
in Table 3. The most important acid were oleic C18:1 (50.10%),
linoleic C18:2 (19.23%), lauric C12:0 (10.24%), palmitic C16:0 (9.83%),
myristic C14:0 (7.51%) and stearic C18:0 (1.66%), which together
compose about 98.6% of the total fatty acids. The P. canariensis seed
oil can be regarded as an oleiclinoleic oil because oleic acid was
most abundant, followed by linoleic acid. It may show a similar
property as Citrus aurantifolia citrus seed oil (Ajewole and Adeyeye,
1993), rapeseed oil (Zubr, 1997), Allig date seed oil (Besbes et al.,
2004) and perah seed oil (Yong and Salimon, 2006). The total unsaturated fatty acid of P. canariensis seed oil is 69.33% which can
inuence the physical properties of the membrane such as uidity
and permeability (Nasri et al., 2005). Oleic acid is very important in
nervous cell construction. It can be changed by organism into a set
of compounds close to prostaglandins witch have an important role
at the vessel level and for blood coagulation. Oleic fatty acid has
fundamental role in cardiovascular diseases prevention. Linoleic
fatty acid is indispensable for the healthy growth of human skin
(Bruckert, 2001). It can be transformed by the organism into series
of long fatty acids chains, witch are the precursors of eicosanoids
(Nasri et al., 2005). The total saturated fatty acid of P. canariensis seed oil is 29.24%, a value that renders it a strong resistant to
oxidative rancidity (Jayadas and Prabhakaran Nair, 2006).
Moreover, various reports suggested the preventive effect of
lauric and myristic acids (mainly lauric acid) on prostatic hyperplasia development because of their 5-reductase inhibitory activity
(Liang and Liao, 1992; Niederprum et al., 1994; Raynauld et al.,
2002; Veeresh Babu et al., 2009).
The present fatty acid composition of P. canariensis seed oil
makes it desirable in terms of nutrition and it may be used as edible cooking oil, as salad oil, as frying oil, or for the manufacture of
3.3.2. Triacylglycerols (TAGs) prole
The distribution of triacylglycerols (TAGs), with equivalent carbon number (ECN) is given in Table 4. According to the results, this
oil contained eight triacylglycerol species (from ECN 36 to ECN 50).
Triacylglycerols with ECN 44 were dominant (25.82%), followed by
TAGs ECN 42 (20.96%), TAGs ECN 40 (19.94%), TAGs ECN 46 (14.22%),
TAGs ECN 48 (9.63%), TAGs ECN 38 (4.64%), TAGs ECN 50 (2.14%)
and TAGs ECN 36 (2.11%). Considering the fatty acid composition,

Table 4
Triacylglycerols composition of Phoenix canariensis seed oil.


Relative composition (%)

LaMM + LaLaP



La, lauric; M, myristic; P, palmitic; S, stearic; O, oleic; L, linoleic; ECN, equivalent

carbon number.

Table 5
Tocols and phytosterols contents of Phoenix canariensis seed oil
(mg/100 g oil).

mg/100 g oil






1.42 0.01
29.90 0.12
3.69 0.03
255.63 0.42
29.56 0.41
9.20 0.09
2.68 0.01
3.99 0.03



the major triacylglycerols are LaMM + LaLaP (18.9%), followed by

LaMP (15.31%), LaOO + PLL + MPL (12.86%) and LaPO (11.33%). It also
reects a close relationship between the fatty acids and triacylglycerol content of the oil.
3.3.3. Tocols composition
Tocopherols and tocotrienols posses antioxidant properties and
they are active as vitamine E, albeit to different extents, which
makes them particularly important for human health (Lercker
and Rodriguez-Estrada, 2000; Mohamed et al., 2007). Vitamin E
deciency affects nervous system development in children and
hemolysis in humans (Sokol, 1996). People with low vitamin E
intake may be at increased risk of atherosclerosis (Rimm et al.,
1993). These natural antioxidants, which contribute to oil stability,
vary from edible vegetable oil to another.
The tocopherol and tocotrienol composition of P. canariensis
seed oil are given in Table 5. The major tocols were -tocotrienol (T3), -tocopherol (-T) and -tocotrienol (-T3) 34.01, 10.30 and
4.63 mg/100 g, respectively. The -tocotrienol is 66% of total tocols.
P. canariensis seed oil is a rich source of -T3 similar to the palm
oil (Al-Saqer et al., 2004). The -, - and -tocopherol have similar values 0.61, 0.92 and 1.03 mg/100 g, respectively. The level of
tocols in P. canariensis seed oil (51.54 mg/100 g) is very close to that
of grape seed oil (52.2 mg/100 g) (Adhikari et al., 2008). It should
be noted that of P. canariensis seed oil contains also a quantity of
-tocopherol acetate that is another form of vitamin E. It is more
stable to light and oxygen than tocopherol. -Tocopherol acetate
is also present in Spanish broom oil, sunower oil and olive oil
(Cerchiara et al., 2010).
3.3.4. Sterols
The most studied fraction of the insaponiable matter is that
of sterols, which is frequently analyzed for tracking commercial frauds (Lercker and Rodriguez-Estrada, 2000). This fraction
has been considered as the major unsaponiable fraction in
many oils. The composition of the sterol fraction is shown in
Table 5. The sterol fraction of the P. canariensis seed oil consisted mainly of campesterol, -sitosterol, 5-avenasterol and
5,24-stigmastadienol, among which -sitosterol was the most
predominant (76%), accompanied with minute amounts of cholesterol, stigmasterol, 7-stigmastenol and 7-avenasterol. The level
of sterols in P. canariensis (336 mg/100 g oil) is very close to that of
P. dactyliferia L. seed oil (300350 mg/100 g oil) (Besbes et al., 2004).

I. Nehdi et al. / Industrial Crops and Products 32 (2010) 360365

4. Conclusion
Considering the protein, fat, mineral and carbohydrate contents
of P. canariensis seed, we can conclude that date pits could be used
to meet part of the nutritional requirements of animal feeds.
P. canariensis seed oil is extracted by hexane solvent. The unique
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