Quality assessment of palm oil sold in major markets in Abia North, Abia State, Nigeria
Background: Quality assessment of oil is a fundamental parameter for having and maintaining high quality standards.
Objective: The study assessed the quality of palm oil sold in major market in Abia north senatorial zone, Nigeria.
Methods: Three out of 5 Local Government Areas (LGAs) were randomly selected in Abia north. Fifteen samples were selected from one major market purposefully selected from each LGA. Sensory properties of the oil were used to group the 45 samples into 3 (good, average and bad oil) before the physicochemical analysis. Data was collected with questionnaire and physicochemical (anisidine value (AV), peroxide value (PV), free fatty acid (FFA), deterioration of bleachability index (DOBI) and beta carotene level) evaluation using standard methods. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and significance was accepted at p ≤ 0.05.
Results: Out of the 45 respondents, 67% produced their oil themselves, while 33% purchased, 37% and 60% kept palm fruits for less than 10 and 10-20 days, respectively before processing. The FFA values ranged from 7.16-8.08%, PV 15.67-40.33meqO2/kg, AV 26.00-41.33, DOBI 0.12-0.26 while beta carotene was 1333.33 - 4443.3mg/kg. For the FFA, PV, DOBI AND AV, the good oil had the lowest values, the bad the highest while the average quality was consistently in between. The opposite was however the case for beta carotene values. The FFA, PV, AV and DOBI values of the samples exceeded the standard values.
Conclusion: Palm oil from Abia north senatorial Zone is of low quality and therefore not very good for human consumption.
Keywords: Abia State, palm oil, Nigeria, quality assessment, major markets