Nine different stearin fractions with 1,3-distearoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycerol (StOSt) contents ranging from 69–84% were obtained via fractionation from fats produced by acidolysis of high oleic sunflower oil (HOSO) with various mixtures of stearic (either 95 or 98% pure) and palmitic acids (98% pure). Samples were further treated with silica to reduce the oxidised glyceride and DAG content. Isothermal crystallisation at 20°C showed a single main peak, but evidence of crystallisation during the initial DSC transient was also apparent for high StOSt content samples. This was confirmed as the α form by stop-and-return DSC and XRD. The main crystallisation event was generally faster (including a shorter induction time) for samples with higher StOSt levels (lower POSt levels). Silica treatment generally accelerated transformations to higher polymorphs (γ, β′ and β). Raman microscopy experiments showed that crystallisation of the β-form was achieved after 7 days storage at 20°C but only in the silica treated stearin samples. This is consistent with higher solid fat content (SFC) values that were obtained with silica treated samples, which also increased with higher levels of StOSt. The results suggest that such stearins could potentially replace shea stearin in cocoa butter equivalents (CBE) formulations.
Practical applications: This paper has two main practical applications: (i) Provides knowledge and understanding of the crystallisation and polymorphic behaviour of isolated hard stearins, obtained from enzymatic acidolysis of high oleic sunflower oil, which can be further used in CBE formulations. (ii) The presence of minor components significantly delays the crystallisation of the stearins, confirming the desirability of higher quality (less oxidised/hydrolysed) fat ingredients.