Production of Edible Oil from Moringa Oleifera Plant Seeds

The research project was based on the extraction of edible oil from the seeds of Moringa oleifera plants a variety of the moringaceae family which is commonly grown in Kenya especially Western part of Kenya. Over the years, there has been a reduction of the alternative sources of edible due to inadequate piece of land required to plant the sources of edible oil as a result of the tremendous increase in human population. This has resulted into human being using other alternative sources of edible oil that are unhealthy. Consequently human related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and unhealthy weight gain has greatly affected the status of most human being. This calls for further research to identify sources of edible oil that are not only safe for human consumption but can also be grown favorably in the small available agricultural land without affecting the existing food crops. The Moringa oleifera plant therefore is among the potential candidate for edible oil with other numerous benefits.  The moringa seeds were aired for one week before it was crushed into fine powder using a blender. The edible oil was then obtained from the dry powder by application of solvent extraction process where soxhlet apparatus was used. In the first oil extraction process, 600 ml of hexane was used which produced 16 ml of moringa oil from 40.17 g of the moringa powder. The second process involved use of 600 ml of dichloromethane (DCM) which produced 17 ml of edible oil from 41.19 g. In the third extraction process a ratio of 1:1 of DCM and hexane was used where 27 ml of edible oil was produced from 60 g of the moringa oleifera powder. In the fourth step there was use of DCM and methanol in the ratio of 1:1 where 28 ml of edible oil was produced from the 60g of the powder. In the first extraction process 37.66%  yield of edibible oil was obtained, The second extraction process produced 39.03% yield,  Third extraction process produced 42.55% yield. The fourth process produced 43.50% yield.  The oil produced was yellow in colour. The density of the edible oil was found to be 0.92 g/ml, its specific gravity was 0.9597. The density and specific gravity were done at room temperature and at 313 K and it showed no difference in specific gravity and density at these various temperature. The analytical balance, a density bottle and appropriate 100ml measuring cylinder were used in the determination of the density and specific gravity. Thin layer chromatography was used to determine the purity of the edible oil and it indicated that it contained only the pure oil. The IR spectroscopy was then used to determine the various peaks of the edible oil as shown in the graphs presented in chapter 4. Various analysis was done on the moringa oil to tests its physical and chemical properties and from the results, the moringa oil had a peroxide value (PV) of 1.6 mmoles/kg, The acid value (AC) of the oil was 1.73 g. Bioactivity test was done on the oil and it showed that it was bioactive against the microorganism used.

Moringa oleifera oil is therefore an important alternative for edible and has very good properties such as high oxidative stability shown by its low iodine value hence can be used for deep frying purposes. The oil also can stay for a long time without undergoing rancidity as shown by its low peroxide value. 

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