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Effects of supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) oil extraction on the cell wall composition of almond fruits

Femenia, A., Garcia-Marin, M., Simal, S., Rossello, C., Blasco, M.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2001 v.49 no.12 pp. 5828-5834
chemical composition, carbon dioxide, fatty acids, pressure, sugars, seeds, chemical elements, pectins, xyloglucans, cell wall components, hemicellulose, almond oil, extraction, minerals, lignin, Prunus dulcis
Extraction of oil from almond fruits using supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) was carried out at 50 degrees C and 330 bar on three sets of almonds: raw almond seeds, raw almond kernels, and toasted almond seeds. Three different oil extraction percentages were applied on each set ranging from approximately 15 to 16%, from approximately 27 to 33%, and from approximately 49 to 64%. Although no major changes were detected in the fatty acid composition between fresh and partially defatted samples, carbohydrate analysis of partially defatted materials revealed important changes in cell wall polysaccharides from almond tissues. Thus, at low extraction percentages (up to approximately 33%), pectic polysaccharides and hemicellulosic xyloglucans were the main type of polymers affected, suggesting the modification of the cell wall matrix, although without breakage of the walls. Then, as supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) continues and higher extraction rates are achieved (up to approximately 64%), a major disruption of the cell wall occurred as indicated by the losses of all major types of cell wall polysaccharides, including cellulose. These results suggest that, under the conditions used for oil extraction using SC-CO2, fatty acid chains are able to exit the cells through nonbroken walls; the modification of the pectin-hemicellulose network might have increased the porosity of the wall. However, as high pressure is being applied, there is a progressive breakage of the cell walls allowing the free transfer of the fatty acid chains from inside the cells. These findings might contribute to providing the basis for the optimization of SCFE procedures based on plant food sources.