Effect of Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) on Extraction Yield and Stability of Oil Obtained from Dry Pecan Nuts ( Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh. K. Koch))

Foods. 2021 Jul 3;10(7):1541. doi: 10.3390/foods10071541.


Pulsed electric fields (PEF) have been reported to increase the total oil extraction yield (OEYTOTAL) of fresh pecan nuts maintaining oil characteristics and increasing phenolic compounds in the remaining by-product. However, there is no information regarding the PEF effect on dry pecan nuts. Dry kernels were pretreated at three specific energy inputs (0.8, 7.8 and 15.0 kJ/kg) and compared against untreated kernels and kernels soaked at 3, 20 and 35 min. OEYTOTAL, kernels microstructure, oil stability (acidity, antioxidant capacity (AC), oil stability index, phytosterols and lipoxygenase activity), along with by-products phenolic compounds (total phenolics (TP), condensed tannins (CT)) and AC were evaluated. Untreated kernels yielded 88.7 ± 3.0%, whereas OEYTOTAL of soaked and PEF-treated kernels were 76.5-83.0 and 79.8-85.0%, respectively. Kernels microstructural analysis evidenced that the 0.8 kJ/kg pretreatment induced oleosomes fusion, while no differences were observed in the stability of extracted oils. PEF applied at 0.8 kJ/kg also increased by-products CT by 27.0-43.5% and AC by 21.8-24.3% compared to soaked and untreated kernels. These results showed that PEF does not improve OEYTOTAL when it is applied to dry pecan nuts, demonstrating that kernels' moisture, oil content and microstructure play an important role in the effectiveness of PEF.

Keywords: enzyme activity; microstructural analysis; oil extraction yield; oil stability; pecan nut oil; pulsed electric fields.