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Keywords:

  • Dietary fibre;
  • coconut;
  • polysaccharide;
  • galactomannan;
  • mannan

Abstract

Polysaccharide fractions were measured in coconuts at three stages of maturity, which corresponded to dietary usage in the Tokelau Islands of the South Pacific. Kernel was sequentially extracted with cold water (CW), hot water (HW) hot 0.5% ammonium oxalate (HOX), 1M H2 SO4 and 72% H2 SO4, and the monosaccharide compositions of the fractions determined. Total readily soluble fractions (CW+HW+HOX) were predominantly galactomannan, and decreased from 77% of the polysaccharide in the immature kernel to 8.8% of that in the mature kernel. Insoluble mannan increased during maturation to be the major polysaccharide component in mature kernel. This indicates that marked differences exist between the three stages of maturity examined, in the properties of their dietary fibre. The results suggest that in studies of diets in which coconut is a staple part, there is a need for careful definition of the coconut component with respect to maturity. Furthermore, they show the importance of using dietary fibre methods which are appropriate to the solubility characteristics of the indigestible polysaccharide.