Grasas y Aceites, Vol 70, No 2 (2019)

A real case study on the physicochemical changes in crude palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) during the deep-frying of akara, traditional cowpea-paste balls, in Brazil

S. Feitosa
School of Nutrition, Federal University of Bahia - UFBA, Brazil

E. F. Boffo
Department of Organic Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry, Federal University of Bahia – UFBA, Brazil

C. S.C. Batista
Department of Organic Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry, Federal University of Bahia – UFBA, Brazil

J. Velasco
Instituto de la Grasa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain

C. S. Silva
School of Nutrition, Federal University of Bahia - UFBA, Brazil

R. Bonfim
School of Nutrition, Federal University of Bahia - UFBA, Brazil

D. T. Almeida
School of Nutrition, Federal University of Bahia - UFBA, Brazil


The objective of this study was to evaluate the physicochemical changes in crude palm oil during a real case of deep-frying of akara, cowpea-paste balls, fried and sold in the streets of Brazil. Discontinuous frying over five consecutive days, using 5-h frying a day, was performed according to traditional practices. The formation of polar compounds was evaluated by the IUPAC official method and by quick tests based on measures of physical properties, Testo 270 and Fri-check. In addition, 1H-NMR spectroscopy was applied to evaluate physicochemical changes. The results showed that after 15-h frying the total content of polar compounds (TPC) exceeded the limit of 25% established in most of the recommendations and regulations on heated oils. Such a level was reached quickly due to the high content of hydrolytic compounds present in the fresh oil and to the inappropriate use of blends of fresh and used oil in the oil replenishment. The two quick tests presented significantly lower values for TPC than the official method, probably due to the elevated hydrolysis of the fresh oil. In contrast, 1H-NMR results exhibited changes in the fatty acid composition which were similar to those provided by the common GC analysis. The use of crude palm oils of better initial quality and replenishment with fresh oil only are recommended to improve the quality of the oil absorbed by akara.


Akara; Crude palm oil; Deep-frying; Fri-check; NMR; Testo

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