Microbiological Quality Of Palm Kernel Fruits

Project and Seminar Material for Microbiology

Microbiological Quality Of Palm Kernel Fruits


The microbial quality of palm kernel fruits sold in Ariaria International Market, Aba was investigated using standard microbiological procedures. Three (3) different species palm fruits were used in this study and they were Ojukwu, Dura and Pisifera. Ojukwu had the highest viable count (4.0 x 104 cfu/g to 4.8 x 104 cfu/g) followed by Pisifera (3.4 x 104 cfu/g to 3.0 x 104 cfu/g) and Dura (6.0 x 103 cfu/g to 7.2 x 10 3 cfu/g). The bacterial species obtained were Staphylococcus aureus, Bacilius spp, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus spp and Serratia spp. The fungal species obtained were Aspergillus flavum, Candida spp and kluyveromuces spp. Ojukwu has the highest viable count. Though their microbial loads were not high, the organisms isolated can cause health problems in individuals who consumed the products without adequate heat processing.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Palm fruit is orange-red to brownish or yellowish-red in colour when ripe but greenish when unripe. Oil palm fruit is monocotyledon belonging to the genus Elaeis. It is a tree crop and the highest oil-producing plant. It produces two types of oils; these are palm kernel oil and palm oil. Palm kernel oil is obtained from the endocarp while palm oil is obtained from the fleshy mesocarp. Palm oil fruit is rich in corotenoids and contains saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids have actually been turned into an asset in view of current dietary recommendations. The use of palm oil fruit in combination with other oils and fats facilitates development of a new generation of fat products that can be tailored to meet most current dietary recommendations. (Airede, 1987) Palm oil fruit contains Vitamin E. (30% tocopherols and 70% tocotrienols) and has been extensively studied for its nutritional and health properties, including antioxidant activities, cholesterol lowering, anti-cancer effects and protection against artherosclerosis. A relatively new out put from the oil palm fruit is the water-soluble phenolic flavonoid-rich antioxidant complex, which has potent antioxidant properties coupled with beneficial effects against skin, breast and other cancers. Its water solubility is being currently tested for use as nutraceutical and in cosmetics with potential benefits against skin aging (Blackwood, 2003).

Microorganisms are known to cause chemical changes in palm oil fruit that lead to deterioration in the quality of their chemical compositions. The lipolytic activity of fungi on the triglycerides constituent of palm oil fruit and fats used in baking formulations may cause rancidity, acidity, bitterness, soapiness and other off flavours. Such activities may occur in seeds or other plant parts (Okechalu et al., 2011).

Palm oil fruit is prone to contamination by microorganisms found in the environment, raw materials and equipments used for the processing, as well as those used for storage and distribution. Frying and cooking of the palm kernel fruits can reduce the microbial load to the minimum level, but the fact that some individuals consume this product raw is of concern as this may result in health problems in such individuals when the microbial load is high, (Ercolini, 2003).

1.1 Scope of Study

This work sought to determine the quality of palm kernel fruits sold at Ariaria Market Aba. The microbial load of palm fruit will be determined as well as the identification of the bacterial and fungal Isolated from the palm fruit.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Frequent problem of palm kernel fruits have been associated will the consumption of spoilt palm kernel fruits can be due to unhygienic handling during harvesting as well as poor storage conditions. Therefore need to determine the microbial quality of palm kernel fruits.

1.3 Aim of Study

The aim of this project is to determine the microbiological quality of palm kernel fruits.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

This work has revealed that palm fruit,Ojukwu are contaminated than the other species of palm fruits used in this study. The microbial contamination of the samples could be as a result of unseen spoilage, dust and contaminated air. Finally, even though their microbial load is not high, it can cause health problem in individual who consumed the product with without heat processing.

5.2 Recommendations

  1. Application of food sanitary measures and proper food handling practice should be strictly adhered to in other to prevent food hazard emanating from poor food handling
  2. Spoilt palm oil fruit should not be used in the preparation of banga soup to avoid contamination.
  3. Sterile Clean water should be used to wash the palm oil fruit for the production of soup.
  4. Careful extraction should be taken before cooking.

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