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Production of stearate-rich butters by solvent fractionation of high stearic–high oleic sunflower oil

Salas, Joaquín J., Bootello, Miguel A., Martínez-Force, Enrique, Garcés, Rafael
Food chemistry 2011 v.124 no.2 pp. 450-458
Helianthus annuus, butter, cocoa butter, fractionation, melting, mixing, stearic acid, stearin, sunflower oil, sweets, temperature, triacylglycerols
Cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs) are fats with a similar composition and melting profile as cocoa butter (CB), which are usually prepared by blending mid-palm fractions and stearate-rich tropical butters. In this regard, high stearic–high oleic sunflower oil contains disaturated triacylglycerols typically present in CBEs, albeit at a lower concentration than that required to produce a solid fat. Here we have assessed a means to fractionate this oil in order to produce solid fractions that can be used as stearic acid-rich butters appropriate for CBE formulations. Solvent fractionation of high stearic–high oleic sunflower oil was optimised in function of the oil/solvent ratio and temperature. Sunflower stearins with similar melting profiles as cocoa butter were obtained from oils of either 17% or 20% stearic acid in a single step. Different stearin products can be obtained by controlling the oil/solvent ratio and the temperature of fractionation. The use of these fractions as CBE components or confectionery fats is discussed in function of their melting profiles.