There is a need to develop alternative crops to improve the food security and prosperity of developing countries. The tropical nut Canarium indicum
(canarium nut) is increasingly used as a shade tree for cocoa and has potential for commercialization as a sustainable crop that will improve food security and livelihoods in Melanesia and East Asia. There is no information on canarium nut shelf life characteristics. Canarium kernels may be prone to rancidity, due to a high content of unsaturated fatty acids. Kernels at 5.4% moisture content were vacuum-packed with a domestic vacuum-packaging system and stored for six months in Papua New Guinea and for nine months in Southeast Queensland, Australia at both ambient temperatures (22 to 31 °C and 22 to 25 °C, respectively) and under refrigeration. Nuts were analysed for changes in peroxide values and free fatty acids (FFAs) over the storage periods that might indicate development of rancidity. Peroxide values indicated very low levels of oxidation in all treatments. Free fatty acids were at low levels but increased significantly during storage at ambient temperatures. The results suggested that vacuum-packed Canarium nuts can be stored safely under ambient tropical conditions for six months with daytime temperatures around 31 °C, and for nine months at 25 °C. Increasing FFA levels at ambient temperatures indicate caution about longer storage time at ambient temperatures. Storage under refrigeration greatly prolonged shelf life.
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