Research Article: The effect of refining process on the physicochemical properties and micronutrients of rapeseed oils

Date Published: March 8, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ying Wu, Runsong Zhou, Zhigao Wang, Bo Wang, Yijie Yang, Xingrong Ju, Rong He, Jinxia Fu.


Information on the physicochemical variability in rapeseed oil from different varieties during each refining process is lacking. Our purpose was to investigate the physicochemical properties, micronutrients and oxidative stability of the oil extracted from the five varieties of rapeseeds during their different stages of refining process. Increase in the acid value, peroxide value and p-anisidine value were detected in the refining, while content of tocopherols, sterols, β-carotene and phenols, which are regarded as important nutritional compounds diminished. Moreover, the loss rate of total phytosterols of all oils during neutralization (9.23–7.3%) and deodorization (9.97–8.27%) were higher than that of degumming (3.01–0.87%) and bleaching (2.75–1.18%). Deodorization affected total tocopherols contents the most, followed by bleaching, neutralization and degumming. There was a remarkable reduction in total content of phenol, β-carotene and oxygen radical absorbance of all oils during refining. The accumulated information can be used in looking for the optimum condition to meet the basic requirements for oil and minimize micronutrients losses so as to increase their market value.

Partial Text

Rapeseed oil is a major source of vegetable oil in the world. Its production is estimated at 27.71 million metric tons, the third just behind palm and soybean oil, supporting the 2018 official data of United States Department of Agriculture. Rapeseed oil contains around 1.5–6% palmitic acid, around 0.5–3.1% stearic acid, around 28% oleic acid, around 11–23% linoleic acid, and around 5–13% linolenic acid. It is characterized by the ideal content of polyunsaturated fatty acid due to the ratio (2:1) of linoleic acid (n-6) and linolenic acid (n-3) fatty acid. On the other hand, the rapeseed oil contains many active biological compounds such as phytosterols, tocopherol, phenolic compounds, β-carotene [1]. Quality and stability are the main factors in the oil production which decide acceptance and sales of vegetable oil products [2,3]. However, the fatty acid composition and minor components such as free fatty acids, phospholipids, trace metals, color pigments, phenolic compounds and waxes of vegetable oil products often affect quality and stability [1,4].

Considering comprehensively, the neutralization stage and the deodorization stage have the greatest influence on the micronutrients and antioxidant activity of rapeseed oil, followed by the bleaching stage, and the least affected is the degumming stage. A similar trend was observed for the AV, PV and p-AV changes of the oils in varieties during refining process, which indicates that there was no significant difference between these chemical properties of rapeseed oil in varieties. Content of phytosterols, tocopherols, TPC, β-carotene and ORAC did not show clear trends for any of the different rapeseed oil varieties, either. This study provides a scientific basis for the necessity of moderate refining of rapeseed oil in actual industrial production.