Food Science and Technology Project Topics

The Effect of Physio-chemical Properties on Moringa Oleifera Oil

The Effect of Physio-chemical Properties on Moringa Oleifera Oil

The Effect of Physio-chemical Properties on Moringa Oleifera Oil

Chapter One

The Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to determine the effects of physic-chemical properties on Moringa oleifera production, Moringa oleifera oil nutritional value will also be discussed in the course of this study.


Moringa oleifera: Botanical Description

  1. oleifera Lam belongs to the genus Moringaceae which consists of 14 known species. Of these, M. oleifera is the most widely known and utilized species. The plant is a native of the sub-Himalayan regions of North West India, and is now indigenous to many countries in Africa, Arabia, South East Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean islands and South America. The tree is widely known as the drumstick or horseradish tree. In Malaysia, the plant is known as “kelor”. The tree ranges in height from 5-12 meters with an open, umbrella-shaped crown, straight short trunk with corky, whitish bark, soft, spongy wood. It has slender, wide spreading, drooping, fragile branches. The foliage can be evergreen or deciduous depending on climate. It is attractive, gracefully lacy; the alternate twice or tricepinnate leaves being spirally arranged, mostly at the branch tips. Leaves are long petiole about 20-50 cm long, with four to six pairs of pinnae bearing two pairs of opposite leaflets that are elliptical or obovate (Figure 1a) .

The fruits (or pods) are initially light green (Figure 1b) becoming dark green and grow up to 60 cm which when mature became dry and brown in color (Figure 1c). Mature seeds are round or triangular-shaped, the kernel surrounded by a light wooded shell with three papery wings (Figure 1d).

Cultivation for Seed Production

There are two main ways of obtaining M. oleifera plants: sowing and the use of cuttings (Leone et al., 2015).

For seed production, sowing is preferred as improved varieties can be selected for cultivation, ensuring proper and profitable production (Centre for Jatropha Promotion, 2016). Seed production, according to harvest and management practices (Leone et al., 2015), requires a low density plantation (typically, 2.5 m × 2.5 m, or 3 m × 3 m) with a triangular pattern (Sánchez et al., 2006), although 1.2 m along a row and 5 m between rows also seems suitable for satisfactory yields (Ayerza, 2011). For leaf production, the spatial distribution in planting can vary: intensive (spacing from 10 cm × 10 cm to 20 cm × 20 cm), semi-intensive (spacing 50 cm × 100 cm), or integrated into an agroforestry system (spacing distance of 2–4 m between rows).

Normally, Moringa seeds are sown during the rainy season and can germinate and grow without irrigation, but for commercial purposes, irrigation through a drip system is recommended, allowing seed production during the dry season as well. Should irrigation be employed, its conditions depend on the cultivation area. In a recent study, Muhl et al. (2014), who used a rainfall exclusion method, administered three irrigation treatments: 900, 600 and 300 mm per annum through drip irrigation, simulating three total annual rainfall amounts. The study showed that a restricted water supply caused no stress to the trees during the reproductive stages; moderate water prior to floral initiation could be beneficial, stimulating flower initiation, while ample irrigation thereafter ensured better fruit set and greater yield.

Although M. oleifera can produce a large quantity of seeds when fertilization is adequate, there has been no exhaustive research on this issue. Several studies (Sánchez et al., 2006; Isaiah, 2013; Dania et al., 2014), focused on leaves or biomass production, suggest that the vegetative growth of Moringa is best supported by 120 kg N:P:K/ha. Fertilization must be done during soil preparation before sowing, and when the trees are at the onset of the growth period, i.e., just before the rainy season. Manure or compost can be used instead of chemical fertilizer.

 Flower Biology and Reproduction

Moringa inflorescences are loose panicles produced in axillary, drooping 10 to 25 cm in length. The bisexual zygomorphic flowers are up to 12 mm long and are white or cream in colour, fragrant, and have 5 pale green sepals, 5 white petals, 5 stamens with anthers and 5 without (staminoid) (Heuzé et al., 2016). The flowers are highly cross-pollinated due to delayed stigma receptivity, and successful pollination requires a large number of insects (Bhattacharya and Mandal, 2004).

The fruit is a trilobite capsule (referred to as a pod), 20–60 cm in length, and it ripens about three months after flowering. The pods become brown and dry at maturity and split open into 3 parts longitudinally. Each pod usually contains 12 to 35 round seeds, 1 cm in diameter. The seeds have a brownish semi-permeable hull with three papery whitish “wings” set around it at 120-degree intervals. A single tree can produce from 15,000 to 25,000 seeds, each weighing, on average, ca. 0.3 g (Foidl et al., 2001). Early flowering varieties produce pods in six months, while other varieties require more than one year.




  1. oleifera was purchased from Main market in Owo, Ondo State Nigeria. Various chemicals Hydrochloric acid (HCl), sodium hydroxide (NaOH), potassium hydroxide (KOH), idobromine (IBr), sodium thiosulphate (Na2S2O3), potassium iodide (KI), and acetic acid (CH3COOH) were used to determine the physico-chemical properties of the oil produced from Moringa oleifera seeds, the analysis was carried out in chemistry laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Moringa oleifera Oil Production

Seed collection

This involves the collection of the fruits of Moringa oleifera and drying it. The drying process stimulates the opening of the fruits to release seeds embedded inside. The seeds were separated from the chaffs and other impurities. This Preparation is very important since any impurity in the seeds will eventually reflect on the oil extracted.




Table 4.1: Proximate composition Moringa oleifera seed oil





It reveals that Moringa oleifera seed is a good source of protein and carbohydrates and mineral. For this reason, it can be a substitute for children suffering from malnutrition. The physicochemical properties of the obtained oil indicate yellow colour with free fatty acid, peroxide value and iodine value to be within permissible range of Food Agriculture Organization, likewise World Health Organization Standard for edible oil. The oil is good for both domestic and industrial uses.



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