Chapter One 1.1 Background to the Study  

The tropical rain forests of West Africa and Central Africa are endowed with abundant high value indigenous fruits and medicinal tree species. Many households heavily depend on these resources for their fruits, medicinal, food, constrictions needs and for their livelihoods and income (Smith et al., 1983). The oil palms (Elaesis) comprises two species of the Aracaceae family. They are used in commercial agriculture in the production of palmoil. The African palmoil (Elaesis guineensis) is native to West Africa, while American oil palm (Elaesis oleifera) is native to tropical central America and South America. E. Guineesis is pinnate leaved having dense clusters of crowded flowers and bright red fruit that yield high quality palmoil.

The importance of quality palmoil in our duet cannot be overemphasized. It is theain vegetable oil consumed.end in the world today, accounting for 33% of all oils consumed globally, closely followed by soya oil with 31% (ICEX, 2014). In the previous decade, world palm oil consumption has more than doubled from around16.7 million tonnes in 1997/98 to over 40million tonnes in 2007/8 and this figure is estimated to surpass 70million tonnes by 2020 (Grape vine, 2008). Palmoil is very nutritious. They are useful fore bone, joint and skin health. Not only is palmoil a rare source of medium chain fatty acids, it is also a source of healthy unsaturated fats. It is a well balanced fat, with 39% Oleic acid (Omega 9) and 10% lonioleic acid (Omega 6). These essential fatty acids help to lower blood cholesterol levels in the body. It is the richest vegetable oil source of tocotrienols which are potent forms of Vitamin E. Vitamin E strengthens the immune system and protect skin cells from toxin and UV radiation. From its reddish orange hue, palmoil is also a good source beta carotene, a nutrient found in sweet potatoes, carrots and other orange foods. Ugwu et al (200) reported that palmoil contains fat soluble carotenoids which are responsible for its high vitamin A content. Beta carotene is useful as a precursor to Vitamin A in the body. It is a powerful antioxidant and act to reduce the risk of certain cancer and heart diseases ( Tanumiharjo,2002; Bendish and Olson, 1989).

The high nutritional value especially its high oil content greatly predisposes it to deterioration. The quality of palm fruits, processing techniques, handling and storage are critical points to be considered in the production of quality pal.oil. This is in a bid to minimize mould load, free fatty acids, aflatoxin B1 contents, moisture content and other anti- nutritional and detrirating factors as their presence especially in high values exceeding permissible levels, reduces quality which are undesirable and hazardous to health of consumers.

1.2 Problem Statement

Quality assessment of palmoil have been carries out in different states of Nigeria such as Rivera state, Kogi star, Delta state, Anambra state, Abia State and Oyo state. Quality assessment of palmoil has not been documented in Osun state. It is therefore desirable and necessary to determine the quality of palmoil on sale in its markets.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study is to assess the quality of palmoil available in major market in Osun state, which is to be achieved through the following specific objectives;

(i) The physiochemical analysis of the palmoil samples and

(ii) The microbial assessment of the palmoil samples.

1.4 Research Questions

(1) what is palmoil quality?

(2) what are the standards for checking the quality of palmoil?

(3) why the need to assess the quality of palmoil?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Mould load, free fatty acids, aflatixin B1 contents moisture content and other anti nutritional and deteriorating factors are important to determine the quality if palmoil. In view of this , it is important to check marketed palmoil to assess their quality as palmoil is consumed by various tribes and ethnic groups of continents due to its immense nutritional and health benefits.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This research h focuses on the assessment of quality of palmoil available in major markets in Osun state, Nigeria.


ICEX: Commodity Profile palmoil.

SmitgJ, Suemour G., Mary L., Richard T, and Reynolds J.S  (1983). Utilization potential for semi tropical fruits and vegetables in therapeutic and family diets. Proc.Fla. State. Hort. Soc. 96: 241- 244.

Tanumiharjo S.A. (2002). Factors influencing conversion of carotenoids to retimols: Bioavailability of bio conversion to bio efficacy. Into. J. Bit. Nutr. Res. 72(1):40-45.

Ugwu F.M., Odo M. And Osborne O.(2002). The quality of locally processed palmoil from Ebonyi and Enugu stars. Proceedings of the 26th annual NIFST conference, 4th-8th Nov. 2002, Owerri eds. (Ubbaonu, C.N., Eke S and O. and Uzoma, A), Pp. 47-48.





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