BACKGROUND: The ripening of fruits is characterized by physical, chemical and biochemical compositional changes such as color, sugars and phenolic compounds. Ackee fruit is famous in Jamaica and the Caribbean. This study aimed to assess the variation of fatty acids in two varieties (cheese and butter) ackee (Blighia sapida) fruits during five different ripening stages.
RESULTS: The total fatty acid content of ackee fruit was much higher in arils and ranged from 283.4 to 465.1 g kg−1 dry weight (DW), while in husk they ranged from 235.2 to 465.1 g kg−1 DW in both varieties. Total fatty acid content declined in the arils and the husks as the fruit ripened. Five major fatty acids were found: palmitic acid (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1), linoleic acid (C18:2) and linolenic acid (C18:3). In the arils, oleic acid was found at the highest concentration, followed by palmitic, stearic, linoleic and last linolenic acid. The unsaturated:saturated ratio of fatty acids varied from 1.23 to 3.26 in the arils of both varieties, and from 1.03 to 5.05 in the husk. Monounsaturated:polyunsaturated fatty acids ranged from 8.56 to 25.19 in the arils and from 0.62 to 2.33 in the husk.
CONCLUSION: The results show that ackee arils contain much higher levels of fats than the husk and the major fatty acid in the arils was oleic acid (Δ9-cis-oleic acid, an omega n-9), while in the husk unsaturated fatty acids were higher than the saturated ones. Oleic acid was the major fatty acid in both varieties, and aril fatty acid content was 10–20 times higher than in the husk. In both varieties, unsaturated fatty acids were relatively higher than saturated ones; however, total fatty acids showed a decline with ripening for arils and husk tissues. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry