BACKGROUND: Bioactive compounds are capable of providing health benefits, reducing disease incidence or favoring body functioning. There is a growing search for vegetable oils containing such compounds. This study aimed to characterize the pulp and kernel oils of the Brazilian palm species guariroba (Syagrus oleracea), jerivá (Syagrus romanzoffiana) and macaúba (Acrocomia aculeata), aiming at possible uses in several industries.
RESULTS: Fatty acid composition, phenolic and carotenoid contents, tocopherol composition were evaluated. The majority of the fatty acids in pulps were oleic and linoleic; macaúba pulp contained 526 g kg−1 of oleic acid. Lauric acid was detected in the kernels of all three species as the major saturated fatty acid, in amounts ranging from 325.8 to 424.3 g kg−1. The jerivá pulp contained carotenoids and tocopherols on average of 1219 µg g−1 and 323.50 mg kg−1, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The pulps contained more unsaturated fatty acids than the kernels, mainly oleic and linoleic. Moreover, the pulps showed higher carotenoid and tocopherol contents. The kernels showed a predominance of saturated fatty acids, especially lauric acid. The fatty acid profiles of the kernels suggest that these oils may be better suited for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries than for use in foods. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry