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Date Fruit Composition and Nutrition

Authors:
  • King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology
  • Michigan State Uni (1994-)

Abstract and Figures

Dates are consumed fresh or in the dried form. Besides being a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, some essential vitamins, and minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals, e.g., phenolics, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. Even date pits are an excellent source of dietary fiber, minerals, lipids, and protein. In addition to their pharmacological properties, phytochemicals also contribute to nutritional and sensorial properties of dates. In date producing countries, this fruit has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments in the various traditional systems of medicine. In recent years, research to assess the health benefits of dates has interfiled and a number of studies have reported on the positive contribution dates to human health. This chapter provides a review of date fruit composition, with special emphasis on varietal differences and changes at various stages of maturity, phytochemicals profile, antioxidant properties, medicinal uses of dates, and date-based functional foods.
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11
Date Fruit Composition
and Nutrition
Jasim Ahmed1, Fahad M. Al-Jasass2, and Muhammad
Siddiq3
1Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, Safat, Kuwait
2King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology, General Directorate of Research
Grants, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East
Lansing, MI, USA, (Currently: Food Science Consultant, Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
Introduction
Production, losses, and
value-addition
Date fruit composition
Carbohydrate and sugar profile
Proteins and amino acids
Dietary fiber
Vitamins
Minerals
Total fat and fatty acids profile
Phytochemicals and aroma profile
Carotenoids
Anthocyanins and procyanidins
Phenolic acids
Antioxidant properties
Aroma and volatile matter
Medicinal uses of dates
Glycemic index of date fruit
Date-based functional foods
Date pits
Conclusion
References
Introduction
Palm date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is an important fruit in Middle Eastern
countries and it is one of the oldest fruit trees in the world (Marzouk and
Kassem 2011). Dates are of religious importance for Muslims throughout the
world and it is mentioned in many places in the Holy Quran. Dates have
been traditionally used to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan
Dates: Postharvest Science, Processing Technology and Health Benefits, First Edition.
Edited by Muhammad Siddiq, Salah M. Aleid and Adel A. Kader.
C
2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
262 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
Table 11.1 Proximate analysis of fresh and dried dates (from 10 fresh and 16 dried varieties).
Fresh dates Dried dates
Range Average Range Average
Moisture (g/100g) 37.9–50.4 42.4 7.2–29.5 15.2
Protein (g/100g) 1.1–2.0 1.5 1.5–3.0 2.14
Fat (g/100g) 0.1–0.2 0.14 0.1–0.5 0.38
Ash (g/100g) 1.0–1.4 1.16 1.3–1.9 1.67
Carbohydrates (g/100g) 47.8–58.8 54.9 66.1–88.6 80.6
Total sugars (g/100g) 38.8–50.2 43.4 44.4–79.8 64.1
Fructose (g/100g) 13.6–24.1 19.4 14.1–36.8 29.4
Glucose (g/100g) 17.6–26.1 22.8 17.6–41.4 30.4
Energy (kcal/100g) 185–229 213 258–344 314
Fresh varieties: Naghal, Khunaizy, Khalas, Barhi, Lulu, Fard, Khasab, Bushibal, Gash Gaafar, Gash Habash.
Dried varieties: All of the above plus Deglet Nour, Medjhool, Hallawi, Sayer, Khadrawi, Zahidi.
Source: Adapted from Al-Farsi and Lee (2008a).
(Al-Shahib and Marshall 2003, Al-Farsi and Lee 2008a). The earliest exam-
ples of the use of date palm in the Middle East come from two sites (the
island of Dalma, United Arab Emirates and Sabiyah in Kuwait) as evidenced
by carbonized date seeds and stones (Beech 2003, Tengberg 2012). The fruit
is composed of a seed and fleshy pericarp which constitutes between 85% and
90% of date fruit weight (Hussein and Alhadrami 1998).
Dates are rich in sugar, protein, dietary fiber, minerals, and some vitamins.
Table 11.1 shows average proximate composition of 10 fresh and 16 dried
date varieties. A high percentage of sugar in the dates fruit provide a good
source of rapid energy (Al-Shahib and Marshall 2003). Recent studies have
indicated that date fruit contains significant amount of flavonoid glycosides
including quercetin, apigenin, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and sinapic acids
(Hong et al. 2006, Abdelhak et al. 2005, Biglari et al. 2008). Flavonoid glyco-
sides are a group of chemical compounds found in many commonly eaten
foods. They have beneficial effects on human health include antioxidants,
strengthening of the immune system, protection against cancer and cell dam-
age, and a reduction in capillary fragility (Biglari et al. 2008). Overall, the
nutritional profile of dates compares very well with other popular dried fruits.
Figure 11.1 shows moisture, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamin C content of
dates along with some common dried fruits.
Consumers are increasingly looking for foods with health benefits which
eventually change the diet patterns. High-fiber diets are in great demand
in the market, which are associated with the prevention and treatment of
some diseases such as coronary heart-related diseases, diabetes, constipation,
diverticular disease, colonic cancer etc. (Brighenti 1999, Cassidy et al. 1994).
Furthermore, the most common form of fiber is insoluble fiber (cellulose,
lignin, and some hemicelluloses), which reduces constipation and is being
studied for its potential to reduce the risk of colon/rectal cancer (Peressini
and Sensidoni 2009). Cereal grains, fruits and vegetables are major source
of dietary fiber; fibers obtained from different sources have some advantages
PRODUCTION, LOSSES, AND VALUE-ADDITION 263
15.2
30.9
30.9
30.1
31.8
15
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Moisture (%)
80.6
63.9
62.6
63.9
61.3
79.2
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
Carbohydrates (%)
8.1
7.1
7.3
9.8
8.2
3.7
0
2
4
6
8
10
Fiber (%)
3900
600
1000
1200
4800
2300
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
Vitamin C (μg/100g)Fiber (%)
Dates
Plum
Apricot
Figs
Peaches
Raisins
Dates
Plum
Apricot
Figs
Peaches
Raisins
Dates
Plum
Apricot
Figs
Peaches
Raisins
Dates
Plum
Apricot
Figs
Peaches
Raisins
Figure 11.1 Moisture, carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin-C content of dates and other common
dry fruits. Source: Adapted from Al-Farsi and Lee (2008a).
over others, and the list of dietary fibers is growing continuously. Date fiber
is also an addition to the list since it has also some advantages in functional
properties and health benefits.
This chapter provides a review of date fruit composition, with special
emphasis on varietal differences and changes at various stages of maturity,
phytochemicals profile, antioxidant properties, medicinal uses of dates, and
date-based functional foods.
Production, losses, and value-addition
The annual world date production in 2011 was 7.5 million metric tons, with
an average yield of 6.5 tons/ ha (FAOSTAT 2012). The Arabian Peninsula
produces about 30% of the global date production with an estimated area
of 33% of global world acreage occupied by date palm. However, a signif-
icant portion of dates is wasted in date-producing countries (loss is about
30% of total production in Tunisia) due to their inferior quality, damage, and
undersized fruit of unattractive appearance (Besbes et al. 2009). It is further
reported that dates are also wasted during the sorting, the storage and the
conditioning (Cheikh-Rouhou et al. 1994). The non-use of this by-product for
human food constitutes a real economic loss since it is rich in bioactive com-
pounds and dietary fiber, which can be extracted and used as value-added
ingredients (Elleuch et al. 2008). Attempts should be made to process these
264 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
unutilized portions into value-added products to increase economic feasibility
of date industry and processors. Converting unutilized or lower grade dates
into date fiber and biomass production (e.g., yeast) on a commercial basis
could be a sustainable solution for solid waste utilization. Researchers in
the field of date industry (production, processing, marketing) should focus
on innovative products such as antioxidants, dried date bits that can be
used in breakfast cereals, baked products, salads, or nutritionally fortified
foods/supplements. In addition to developing value-added products from
dates, research should focus on packaging and shelf life studies to fully realize
the economic potential of nutrient-rich date fruit.
Date fruit composition
Carbohydrate and sugar profile
Palm date is a rich source of carbohydrates, most of which is in the form of
simple sugars. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 100 g
serving of dates provides almost 75 g of carbohydrates, which accounts for
18% of the daily value for carbohydrates. About 85% of total carbohydrate
in dates is present in the form of simple sugars. The sugar content of date
fruit of a particular variety might vary significantly with cultivar, soil, climatic
conditions, and fruit maturity stage. The date sugars contain glucose, fructose,
and sucrose, although the presence of sucrose is minimal or negligible for
most of the date varieties, and the ratio of glucose to fructose is almost equal.
Considering the importance of the date fruit, several studies have been
carried out on the characterization of its chemical composition at different
stages of maturation. Dates ripen in four stages: Kimri (the immature green),
Khalal (the mature full-colored, crunchy), Rutab (ripe, soft), and Tamar (rel-
atively hard and ripe, reduced moisture). Ahmed et al. (1995a) analyzed date
fruits from 12 varieties from the United Arab Emirates and observed that
glucose and fructose increase gradually with four distinct stages of ripening
from Kimri through Khalal and Rutab to Tamar.
A change in sugar profile of dates at various stages of maturation is shown
in Table 11.2, which clearly indicates that the fruit becomes sugar rich after
the Khalal stage. Al-Noimi and Al-Amir (1980) reported that in the Tamar
stage the fruit shows a sharp increase in sucrose content and dramatic drop
in moisture content. Also, sucrose content exceeds glucose and fructose con-
tent in the first growth stages, and thereafter sucrose starts to convert into
monosaccharides until sucrose content is less than 5% in the Tamar stage.
Figure 11.2 shows the general proportion of sugars during the various stages
of date fruit growth and maturity. It is to be noted that the sugars conversion
rate depends on temperature and relative humidity of storage environment in
addition to the physiological activities of the fruit. Date pulps contain easily
digestible sugars (70%), mainly glucose, fructose, and sucrose; dietary fibers
and contain less proteins and fats (Al-Farsi and Lee 2008a).
DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION 265
Table 11.2 Sugar content of selected commercial varieties of dates at different stages of
ripening (g/100 g fresh weighta).
Variety Ripening stage Total sugars Glucose (G) Fructose (F) Sucrose G/F Ratio
Naghal Kimri 5.1 3.2 1.9 0 1.7
Khalal 30.6 16.1 14.5 0 1.1
Rutab 44.2 23.4 20.8 0 1.1
Tamar 44.3 23.2 21.2 0 1.1
Buchibal Kimri 5.1 3.2 2 0 1.6
Khalal 18.7 8.1 6.3 4.3 1.3
Rutab 49 25.5 23.3 0.1 1.1
Tamar 55.1 27.6 27.6 0 1
Khunaizy Kimri 6.4 4 2.4 0 1.7
Khalal 23.4 12.4 11 0 1.1
Rutab 46.3 24.7 21.5 0.1 1.2
Tamar 53.9 28.5 25.4 0 1.1
Khulas Kimri 7 4.5 2.5 0 1.8
Khalal 31.9 16.9 15 0 1.1
Rutab 46.1 24.5 21.7 0 1.2
Tamar 57 30.5 26.5 0 1.1
Gurh Rabei Kimri 5.3 3.4 1.9 0 1.8
Khalal 24.9 13.2 11.7 0 1.1
Rutab 48.1 25.5 22.7 0 1.1
Tamar 49.9 26.1 23.7 0 1.1
Hilali Ahmr Kimri 3.4 2.2 1.1 0 1.9
Khalal 23 8.5 7.7 6.8 1.1
Rutab 43.6 23.3 20.6 0 1.1
Tamar 64.1 32.5 31.5 0 1
Barhi Kimri 7.7 4.9 2.8 0 1.6
Khalal 31.1 13.1 11.8 6.2 1.1
Rutab 40.8 21.4 19.4 0 1.1
Tamar 57.2 29.7 27.6 0 1.1
Lula Kimri 7.6 4.8 2.9 0 1.7
Khalal 29.7 15.6 14.1 0 1.1
Rutab 43.9 22 21.9 0 1
Tamar 57.7 30.5 27.1 0 1.1
Fard Kimri 5.6 3.5 2.1 0 1.6
Khalal 27.1 14.6 12.6 0 1.1
Rutab 50.1 26.1 24.1 0 1.1
Tamar 59.5 29.8 29.8 0 1
Naghal Hilali Kimri 6.8 4.1 2.6 0.1 1.7
Khalal 31.8 16.5 15.1 0 1.1
Rutab 44.8 23.7 21.9 0 1.1
Tamar 52.7 29.1 23.6 0 1.2
KhasabbKimri 7.6 5 2.6 0 1.9
Khalal 22.9 12.6 10.3 0 1.2
Rutab 41.7 21.9 19.8 0 1.1
Hilali Pakistan Kimri 6.6 2.2 2.5 0 2.2
Khalal 23.8 8.5 10.8 0 1.1
Rutab 44.1 23.3 21 0 1.1
Tamar 51.4 32.5 23.7 0 1.2
aMean of three replicates of fruits of two consecutive seasons; bdoes not produce Tamar stage.
Source: Ahmed et al. (1995). Reproduced with permission from Elsevier.
266 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
0
20
40
60
Kimri
4.9
Glucose
K
2.8
7.7
Khalal
13.1
11.8
Fructose
Rutab
21.4
19.4
31.1
Total sugars
Tamr
29.7
40.8
G
27.6
57.3
Glucose
Fructose
Total sugars
Figure 11.2 Sugar profile (%) of dates at various stages of maturity.
Proteins and amino acids
Dates contain high levels of protein compared to most other fruits. The
highest content is observed during Kimri phase (5.5–6.4%), which gradually
decreases to 2–2.5% during the Tamar stage (Al-Hooti et al. 1997). The flesh
of date also contains 0.2–0.5% oil, while the seeds contain 7.7–9.7% oil. Table
11.3 shows the protein in dates during the Khalal, Rutab, and Tamar stages.
The nutritional profile of US-grown Medjhool and Deglet Nour dates is pre-
sented in Table 11.4.
Ahmed et al. (1995b) isolated proteins from various date cultivars from
different countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and USA) by phosphate-
buffered saline (PBS) extraction and those proteins were analyzed by sodium
dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Dates
contained a number of proteins with molecular weights ranging from 12,000
to 72,000 Dalton; however, most date cultivars contained two prominent
bands appearing at 30,000 and 72,000 Dalton. Sequential extraction of date
pulps showed that most date proteins were water-soluble albumins. At the
early stage, green dates contained very little protein which increased rapidly
at later stages in maturation. Dates from Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Iran were
similar in their protein profiles since they contained similar complex mixtures
of proteins in the molecular weight range of 12,000–72,000 Dalton. A date
variety from the USA contained very little protein with a simple protein pro-
file containing one major band appearing at 30,000 Dalton.
The amino acid profile of fresh and dried dates are shown in Table 11.5.
Amino acid analysis revealed that dates, irrespective of cultivar contained
all the essential amino acids. Date proteins were found to be rich in acidic
amino acids and poor in sulfur containing amino acids such as methionine and
cysteine. Within the same stage of maturation, the amino acid content varies
significantly. Amino acids content increased in dried varieties mainly due to
water reduction (Auda et al. 1976). Glutamic, aspartic, lysine, leucine, and
glycine were the predominant amino acids in fresh dates, whereas glutamic,
DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION 267
Table 11.3 Proximate composition of selected commercial varieties of dates at different
stages of ripening (g/100 g fresh weighta).
Variety Ripening stage Moisture Protein (crude) Lipid Ash
Naghal Kimri 80.1 1.1 0.1 0.8
Khalal 54.5 1.6 0.1 1.0
Rutab 44.1 2.0 0.2 1.2
Tamar 9.2 2.7 0.2 1.9
Buchibal Kimri 83.7 1.0 0.1 0.7
Khalal 76.5 0.9 0.1 0.5
Rutab 35.9 2.1 0.1 1.1
Tamar 18.0 2.2 0.2 1.5
Khunaizy Kimri 84.2 1.1 0.1 0.7
Khalal 66.5 1.1 0.1 0.8
Rutab 37.9 1.9 0.1 1.2
Tamar 25.1 3.0 0.1 1.4
Khulas Kimri 83.7 0.8 0.1 0.7
Khalal 58.9 1.1 0.1 0.9
Rutab 41.3 1.1 0.1 1.0
Tamar 22.3 2.1 0.1 1.4
Gurh Rabei Kimri 85.1 0.7 0.1 0.6
Khalal 64.1 1.0 0.1 1.0
Rutab 44.7 1.4 0.1 1.1
Tamar 25.5 2.0 0.2 1.6
Hilali Ahmr Kimri 84.6 0.9 0.1 0.7
Khalal 74.0 0.9 0.1 0.6
Rutab 45.8 1.5 0.1 1.0
Tamar 31.1 2.2 0.1 1.6
Barhi Kimri 83.2 1.1 0.1 0.8
Khalal 62.6 1.4 0.1 0.9
Rutab 39.7 1.8 0.2 1.1
Tamar 29.5 2.3 0.1 1.5
Lula Kimri 81.7 1.3 0.1 0.8
Khalal 62.2 1.1 0.1 0.7
Rutab 45.2 1.6 0.2 1.0
Tamar 21.3 2.4 0.2 1.3
Fard Kimri 82.7 0.9 0.1 0.8
Khalal 72.1 1.0 0.1 1.0
Rutab 37.6 1.5 0.2 1.3
Tamar 27.7 2.1 0.1 1.8
Naghal Hilali Kimri 85.5 0.8 0.1 0.6
Khalal 57.0 1.3 0.1 1.0
Rutab 48.9 1.2 0.1 0.8
Tamar 32.1 1.9 0.1 1.3
KhasabbKimri 84.6 0.8 0.1 0.6
Khalal 72.6 1.0 0.1 0.8
Rutab 50.4 1.1 0.1 1.0
Hilali Pakistan Kimri 84.2 1.0 0.1 0.6
Khalal 70.5 0.9 0.1 0.6
Rutab 44.2 1.4 0.1 1.1
Tamar nrcnr nr nr
aMean of three replicates of fruits of two consecutive seasons; bdoes not produce Tamar stage; cnot
reported
Source: Ahmed et al. (1995). Reproduced with permission from Elsevier.
268 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
Table 11.4 Nutritional profile of US grown Medjhool and Deglet Nour dates.
Medjhool Deglet Nour
Raw/ Pitted/ Raw/ Cup, chopped/ Pitted/
Components Units 100 g 24 g 100 g 147 g 7.1 g
Proximate:
Water g 21.32 5.12 20.53 30.18 1.46
Energy kcal 277 66 282 415 20
Protein g 1.81 0.43 2.45 3.6 0.17
Total lipid (fat) g 0.15 0.04 0.39 0.57 0.03
Carbohydrate, by difference g 74.97 17.99 75.03 110.29 5.33
Fiber, total dietary g 6.7 1.6 8 11.8 0.6
Sugars, total g 66.47 15.95 63.35 93.12 4.5
Minerals:
Calcium mg 64 15 39 57 3
Iron mg 0.9 0.22 1.02 1.5 0.07
Magnesium mg 54 13 43 63 3
Phosphorus mg 62 15 62 91 4
Potassium mg 696 167 656 964 47
Sodium mg 1 0 2 3 0
Zinc mg 0.44 0.11 0.29 0.43 0.02
Vitamins:
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 0 0 0.4 0.6 0
Thiamin mg 0.05 0.012 0.052 0.076 0.004
Riboflavin mg 0.06 0.014 0.066 0.097 0.005
Niacin mg 1.61 0.386 1.274 1.873 0.09
Vitamin B6 mg 0.249 0.06 0.165 0.243 0.012
Folate, DFE g 15 4 19 28 1
Vitamin A IU 149 36 10 15 1
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) g 2.7 0.6 2.7 4 0.2
Source: USDA (2012).
Table 11.5 Range of amino acids in fresh and dried dates.
Amino acid Content (mg/100g)
Alanine 30–133
Arginine 34–148
Aspartic acid 59–309
Cysteine 13–67
Glutamic acid 100–382
Glycine 42–268
Histidine 0.1–46
Isoleucine 4–55
Leucine 41–242
Lysine 42–154
Methionine 4–62
Phenylalanine 25–67
Proline 36–148
Serine 29–128
Threonine 23–95
Tryptophan 7-92
Tyrosine 15–156
Source: Adapted from Al-Farsi and Lee (2008a).
DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION 269
aspartic, glycine, proline, and leucine were the predominant amino acids in
dried dates (Al-Farsi and Lee 2008a).
Dietary fiber
Fiber or dietary fiber (DF) or crude fiber is the solid insoluble part of date
flesh, mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and insoluble pro-
teins. In addition to these, it may be associated with other non-carbohydrate
components like polyphenols, waxes, saponins, cutin, phytates, and resistant
protein. In the early stage of the date fruit, the fiber content is very high. How-
ever, during the ripening process, cellulase and pectinase enzymes present in
the fruit break down insoluble polymers to smaller soluble molecules (Shafiei
et al. 2010). El-Zoghbi (1994) reported that the DF content of dates decreases
from 13.7% in the first stage of ripening to 3.6% in the fourth stage, the dried
dates. Furthermore, the pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin contents
decrease as the dates ripen.
There are wide variations in the DF content for dried dates reported in the
literature, ranging from 4% to 8% (Spiller 1993, Al-Showiman 1998, Lund
et al. 1983). The wide difference in DF contents has been attributed partly to
analytical techniques adopted. In the Handbook of Dietary Fiber in Human
Nutrition (Spiller 1993), the DF was reported as being 4.4% (3.2% insoluble
bran and 1.2% soluble fiber) whereas Holland et al. (1991) reported the DF
content of dried dates as 6.5% by the Southgate method and 3.4% by the
Englyst method. Lund et al. (1983) claimed that the fiber content of dates,
measured by an enzymatic method, was 6.9% (insoluble) and 2.3% (soluble).
These studies clearly indicate that the DF value has to be mentioned along
with these method used for its determination. Al-Shahib and Marshall (2002)
estimated DF for nine varieties of dried dates from various countries (Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran) and observed that the overall mean DF content of
the dates was 10.2% (w/w). Conversion of these values to an ‘as is’ basis indi-
cated that the dates contained from 6.4 to 11.4% DF. These results depend
not only on the method used for analysis but also on the variety of dates, the
stage of ripening and how dry they were.
Elleuch et al. (2008) extracted date fiber concentrate from two second
grade (low in commercial value) dates flesh (cv. Deglet Nour and Allig).
The initial DF contents were 14.4% and 18.4% for Deglet Nour and Allig,
respectively. The elaboration of DF concentrates from date flesh was charac-
terized by an extraction yield of 67%. The chemical composition of these DF
concentrates showed high total DF contents (between 88% and 92.4% DM)
and low protein and ash contents (8.98–9.12% and 2.0–2.1% DM, respec-
tively). The DF concentrates showed a high water-holding capacity (15.5 g
water/g sample) and oil-holding capacity (9.7 g oil/g sample) and pseudoplas-
ticity behavior of their suspensions. Thus, date DF concentrates may not only
be an excellent source of DF but also an ingredient for the food industry with
good functional properties.
270 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
Pitted manually to get flesh
Water added (flesh-to-water, 1:5)
Whole mass heated in a microwave oven
Cooled & filtered through fine cloth under vacuum
Insoluble part
Date Fruit
Freeze-dried
Packaged in moisture-proof polyethylene bag
Water added (1:5)
and repeated until
sugar-free
Figure 11.3 Insoluble date fiber extraction flow diagram.
Ahmed et al. (2013) used multistage water extraction of date flesh
using microwave (MW) heating followed by freeze-drying, and grinding to
obtain insoluble fiber (Figure 11.3). High-performance liquid chromatogra-
phy (HPLC) analysis was used to confirm the complete removal of sugar.
After the sixth extraction, the sample became sugar-free and the fiber yield
was about 6% on dry basis. The particle size of the fiber was measured by
dynamic light scattering, and the particle diameters ranged between 700 and
1000 nm. Mineral analysis confirmed that date fiber was rich in potassium,
calcium, and magnesium (1.5–2.4 g/kg) and low in sodium. Date fiber showed
high water and oil holding capacities. Fiber slurry (20% w/w) behaved as a
viscoelastic fluid with predominating solid-like property. There were signifi-
cant differences in tristimulus color values, mineral contents, water- and oil-
holding capacities among date cultivars.
Al-Farsi and Lee (2008b) optimized process parameters (temperature,
extraction time, solvent type, and solvent-to-sample ratio) for extraction of
dietary fiber from date seeds. A two-stage extraction, each stage 1 hour dura-
tion at 45 C with a solvent-to-sample ratio of 60:1, was considered optimum.
Acetone (50%) and butanone were the most efficient solvents for extrac-
tion and purification, increasing the yield. The total dietary fiber of seeds
(57.87 g/100 g) increased after water and acetone extractions to 83.50 and
82.17 g/100 g, respectively.
For the recommended daily intake of 25 g of total dietary fiber (Marlett
et al. 2002), dates could be a good source of dietary fiber in the diet, as 100 g
of dates provide 32% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. The
high content of the insoluble fiber induces satiety, and has a laxative effect
DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION 271
due to increased stool volume. It therefore may reduce the risk of serious
conditions such as colon cancer and diverticular disease (Marlett et al. 2002).
Vitamins
Date pulp contains vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamine, biotin, folic acid,
and ascorbic acid that are essential for the body. Dates are rich in B-complex
vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic
acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), and folate (B9) and vitamin K (Al-Farsi and Lee
2008a). It is worth mentioning that some vitamins (B3,B
5,B
6, and B9) are
found in higher concentrations in dates than some common fruits like apple,
orange, and berries. The niacin content is very high and it varies between
1.27 and 1.61 mg/100 g. Quantitative analysis of water-soluble vitamins (B1,
B2,B
3,B
5,B
6,B
9,B
12) showed a significant variation within the different
cultivars and the developing stages of date fruit (Aslam et al. 2011). Vitamins
B1,B
3,B
5,B
6are highest in mature stages; however, vitamins B2,B
9,B
12
have been detected in immature fruit. Vitamin C content is found to be very
low in dates, however, it is still higher than plums, apricots, figs, and raisins
(Figure 11.1).
Minerals
Mineral profiles of different varieties of dates at various stages of maturation
is shown in Table 11.6. Dates contain essential minerals, for example, potas-
sium, which is essential for muscle contractions and helps to control heart
rate and blood pressure (Al-Shahib and Marshall 2002). One hundred grams
of date contains 696 mg of potassium, 90 mg of iron, 362 g of copper, and
90 mg of magnesium, which are essential for bone growth. Also, copper is
needed for the production of red blood cells. The significantly high potas-
sium and low sodium contents in dates are optimum for people suffering from
hypertension (Appel et al. 1997). In comparison with other dried fruits (as
per USDA National nutrient database), 100 g dates contain on average of
0.8 g selenium, 0.3 g copper, 864 mg potassium, and 43 mg magnesium
(USDA 2007). It is noted that the data reported by USDA is for fruit grown
in the US, hence variations are expected for fruit grown in other countries.
Moreover, often times, variations in data reported are due to varietal and
maturity differences. Nonetheless, dates are regarded as a good source of
these minerals. A 100-g consumption of dates provides over 15% of the daily
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to Adequate Intakes (AI) of sele-
nium, copper, potassium, and magnesium (Al-Farsi and Lee 2008a); moder-
ate concentrations of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium, per 100 g
of dates, provide over 7% of the daily RDA/AI. The pulps are rich in iron,
calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phos-
phorus, sodium, copper, sulfur, boron, selenium, and zinc (Al-Farsi and Lee
2008a, Ali-Mohamed and Khamis 2004). In many date varieties, potassium
272 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
Table 11.6 Trace metal content of selected varieties of dates at different stages of ripening
(mg/100 g dry weighta).
Variety Ripening Stage Ca Fe Mg K Na Cu Mn Zn
Naghal Kimri 70 1.1 114 1,082 87 0.5 1.1 2.7
Khalal 23 1.5 83 872 95 0.5 0.6 0.2
Rutab 14 0.7 60 806 302 0.3 0.7 0.3
Tamar 15 0.5 47 788 287 0.2 0.5 0.2
Buchibal Kimri 47 1.9 149 1,037 28 0.4 0.8 0.7
Khalal 20 0.8 61 658 183 0.3 1.2 0.6
Rutab 13 1.2 57 696 130 0.3 0.3 0.3
Tamar 19 1.2 57 700 153 0.4 0.5 0.2
Khunaizy Kimri 86 1.3 190 986 109 0.9 1.1 0.9
Khalal 17 1.2 88 926 133 0.3 0.6 0.3
Rutab 8.2 1.1 78 752 200 0.3 0.5 0.2
Tamar 15 1.5 59 704 197 0.1 0.4 0.2
Khulas Kimri 101 2.2 151 1,101 52 0.6 0.7 0.5
Khalal 60 1.6 89 789 83 0.4 0.4 0.3
Rutab 18 1.4 62 588 212 0.4 0.3 0.3
Tamar 16 1.7 62 630 82 0.4 0.3 0.3
Gurh Rabie Kimri 86 1.4 112 1,041 28 0.5 0.8 0.8
Khalal 15 1.0 81 841 65 0.3 1.3 0.8
Rutab 15 1.4 71 809 140 0.5 0.5 0.5
Tamar 15 1.2 64 797 104 0.5 0.6 0.3
Hilali Ahmr Kimri 54 1.4 103 1,201 99 0.5 0.6 0.6
Khalal 15 1.1 58 849 94 0.3 0.6 0.5
Rutab 13 1.5 47 702 142 0.1 1.1 0.2
Tamar 10 1.1 50 916 113 0.3 0.3 0.1
Barhi Kimri 88 1.1 209 1,163 29 0.4 1.7 0.8
Khalal 10 0.9 45 796 204 0.2 1 0.4
Rutab 12 1.4 89 799 209 0.3 0.3 0.2
Tamar 12 0.3 82 855 75 0.2 0.5 0.1
Lula Kimri 48 1.8 144 1,070 28 0.6 1.1
Khalal 9.7 1.1 88 498 62 0.6 1.1 0.4
Rutab 8.3 1.3 78 697 139 0.3 0.3 0.3
Tamar 9.5 0.6 71 565 64 0.3 0.5 0.1
Fard Kimri 53 1.5 121 1,243 66 0.5 0.7 0.7
Khalal 18 1.3 97 1,106 64 0.5 1.3 0.6
Rutab 14 1.2 68 1,414 282 0.3 0.5 0.3
Tamar 14 1.2 63 914 141 0.4 0.5 0.2
Naghal Hilali Kimri 52 1.6 123 682 46 0.2 0.7 0.8
Khalal 14 1.0 45 683 41 0.2 1.3 0.4
Rutab 10 1.1 53 622 147 0.2 0.3 0.2
Tamar 9.7 1.2 56 704 55 0.3 0.3 0.6
KhasabbKimri 88 1.7 147 1,121 96 0.9 1.7 0.9
Khalal 19 1.5 90 816 54 0.4 1.3 0.6
Rutab 17 1.1 62 820 216 0.3 0.5 0.4
Hilali Pakistan Kimri 59 2 119 1,085 43 0.7 2 1
Khalal 16 1.5 66 890 49 0.4 0.4 0.4
Rutab 11 1.2 51 804 213 0.2 0.4 0.3
Tamar 12 1.6 62 770 153 0.2 0.4 0.2
aMean of three replicates of fruits of two consecutive seasons; bdoes not produce Tamar stage.
Source: Ahmed et al. (1995). Reproduced with permission from Elsevier.
DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION 273
can be found at a concentration as high as 0.9% in the flesh while it is as
high as 0.5% in some pits/seeds. Other minerals and salts that are found in
various proportions include boron, calcium, cobalt, manganese, phosphorus,
and zinc. Additionally, the seeds also contain aluminum, cadmium, chloride,
lead and sulfur in various proportions (Al-Farsi et al. 2005a, Al-Farsi and
Lee 2008a, Ali-Mohamed and Khamis 2004). According to Al-Showiman
(1998) and El Hadrami and Al-Khayri (2012), the date fruit contains fluo-
rine, which is proven to protect against tooth decay. Also, selenium has many
functions in the human body; it can prevent cancer and stimulate the immune
system. Dates are a good source of iron and can correct iron deficiencies
and anemia.
Table 11.7 shows physicochemical proprieties of date syrups prepared from
three date varieties using traditional extraction (TE) and enzymatic extrac-
tion (EE). The method of extraction of syrup can have significant effect on
composition of date syrup including minerals (Abb`
es et al. 2011). However,
it may be noted that the differences due to extraction methods were not con-
sistent across three varieties studied (Deglet Nour, Allig, and Kentichi).
Table 11.7 Physico-chemical proprieties of date syrups prepared from three date varieties
using traditional extraction (TE) and enzymatic extraction (EE).
Deglet Nour Allig Kentichi
Component TE5EE6TE EE TE EE
Soluble sugars170 74.26 69.41 74.68 62.14 72.06
Reducing sugars127.31 64.41 66.89 70.95 24.4 65.59
Polysaccharide13.1 2.3 3.1 1.7 3.1 2.1
Pectin20.43 1.16 0.92 1.29 0.45 1.22
Protein11.24 1.27 1.31 1.5 0.97 1.03
Ash12.4 2.42 1.79 1.88 2.05 2.12
Potassium31004.8 1024.8 674.8 565.4 799.2 749.3
Magnesium378.2 69.5 38.8 34.4 77.8 60.1
Sodium3165.2 160.8 76.0 75.5 180.2 157.5
Calcium3180.5 150.5 64.8 81.2 270.6 240.5
Phosphorus3100.5 91.2 48.3 57.2 70 90.4
Zinc30.64 0.93 0.83 1.7 0.64 1.1
Manganese30.04 0.13 0.07 0.2 0.07 0.14
Iron30.63 0.06 1.39 1.53 1.07 0.16
Total phenolic4461.21 326.84 356.42 292.34 400.51 304.28
pH 4.87 3.2 4.48 3.12 4.82 3.07
Acidity (as % citric acid) 0.27 1.25 0.18 1.22 0.2 1.29
Water activity (aw) 0.46 0.48 0.47 0.47 0.47 0.45
1g/100g, dry weight; 2mg galacturonic acid /100 g, fresh weight; 3mg/100 g, fresh weight; 4mg gallic acid
equiv./100 g, fresh weight.
5at 100 C for 15 min without enzyme addition.
6at 50 C for 120 min with pectinase and cellulose.
Source: Abbes et al. (2011). Reproduced with permission from Elsevier.
274 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
Total fat and fatty acids profile
The evolution of the oil content during date fruits ripening shows a continu-
ous decrease, and there are marked differences in the oil content at different
stages of ripening. The fruit contains very low fat content (0.24–0.42%). A
total of 15 different fatty acids have been identified in the fruit oils (Arem
et al. 2011). The oil obtained from the pulp of the fruits is composed of
approximately 50% saturated fatty acids (SFA), 40% monounsaturated fatty
acids (MUFA), and 10% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The major sat-
urated fatty acid (SFA) was palmitic acid (C16:0). There is minor presence
of myristic (C14:0), arachidic (C20:0 ), pentadecanoic (C15:0), heneicosanoic
(C21:0), and tricosanoic (C23:0 ) acids. During maturation of the date fruit, and
especially from Rutab to Tamar stage, PUFA content, especially linoleic acid,
increases. These results could be explained by the conversion of oleic acid to
linoleic acid by D12-desaturase, a membrane-bound enzyme. Content of oleic
acid in seed ranges from 41.1% to 58.8%, which indicates that seeds can be
used as a source of oleic acid (Al-Shahib and Marshall, 2003).
Phytochemicals and aroma profile
In addition to being a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, some essen-
tial vitamins, and minerals, dates are also rich in a variety of phytochemicals,
for example, phenolics, sterols, carotenoids, anthocyanins, procyanidins, and
flavonoids (Baliga et al. 2011). Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of
dates and selected common dry fruits is shown in Figure 11.4. Even date
pits are an excellent source of phytochemicals besides dietary fiber, miner-
als, lipids, and protein. In addition to their pharmacological properties, phy-
tochemicals also contribute to nutritional and sensorial properties of dates
(Baliga et al. 2011). Phytochemicals in fruits have been shown to possess sig-
nificant antioxidant capacities that may be associated with lower incidence
and lower mortality rates of degenerative diseases in human (Baliga et al.
2011, Vayalil 2012).
240
500
160
960
163
1065
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200 Phenolics (mg/100 g, GAE)
1871
710
340
3383
1863
3037
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000 Antioxidant Activity (μmol/100g)
Figure 11.4 Phenolic content and antioxidant activityof dates and other common dry fruits
(by FRAP assay for plum and apricot and by ORAC for others). Source: Adapted from Al-Farsi
and Lee (2008a).
PHYTOCHEMICALS AND AROMA PROFILE 275
Carotenoids
According to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Refer-
ence, Release 19 (USDA 2007) the total carotenoids in Deglet Nour and
Medjhool are 81 g/100 g (6.0 gof-carotene and 25.0 g of lutein
plus zeaxanthin) and 112 g/100 g (89.0 gof-carotene and 23.0 g
of lutein together with zeaxanthin), respectively. The carotenoid composi-
tion and the provitamin A value of three Algerian date varieties (Deglet
Nour, Hamraya, and Tantebouchte) at three different ripening stages showed
that the major carotenoid pigment present in dates was lutein followed by
-carotene (Boudries et al. 2007). Interestingly, the carotenoid content of the
fruit decreased significantly during ripening from the Khalal to the Tamar
stage. The -carotene content was reported to be 6.4, 3.3 and 2.5 g/100 g for
Deglet-Nour, Hamraya and Tantebouchte dates, respectively, while that of
the lutein was 156, 28, and 33.6 g/100 g, respectively (Boudries et al. 2007,
Al-Farsi and Lee 2008a). The carotenoid degradation is probably due primar-
ily to the loss of moisture during maturation, and is probably unrelated to the
gradual darkening of the ripening fruits (Gross et al. 1983).
Anthocyanins and procyanidins
Anthocyanins have been detected in various fresh date cultivars and their
concentration ranged between 0.87 and 1.5 mg/100 g; generally, there was
a direct correlation between the levels of anthocyanins and the fruit color.
Anthocyanins are detected only in fresh dates, indicating that they may be
destroyed in sun-dried fruit (Al-Farsi et al. 2005b). The presence of pro-
cyanidins in date fruits has been reported in the literature. Chemical analysis
of acetone–water–acetic acid-extracted procyanidins indicated that the pro-
cyanidin existed as higher molecular weight polymers, undecamers through
heptadecamers, and decamers (Hong et al. 2006).
Phenolic acids
Phenolic compounds are one of the most important bioactive materials and
are characterized as potent antioxidants and free radical scavengers which
can act as hydrogen donors, reducing agents, metal chelators and singlet oxy-
gen quenchers (Yen et al. 1993). Phenolic acids and their consumption have
increased recently due to potential health benefits.
Mansouri et al. (2005) studied the phenolic profile of seven different vari-
eties of Algerian ripe date fruits. These date samples contained p-coumaric,
ferulic and sinapic acids, some cinnamic acid derivatives, and three different
isomers of 5-o-caffeoyl shikimic acid. Presence of both free (protocatechuic
acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, and ferulic acid) and bound phenolic acids
(gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic
acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and o-coumaric acid) have
been reported in three varieties of Omani dates (Al-Farsi et al. 2005b). Fur-
ther, it has been reported that the phenolic content increased significantly
276 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
after drying, possibly due to the degradation of tannins and lower activity of
degradative enzymes at higher drying temperatures (Al-Farsi et al. 2005b).
Antioxidant properties
Date has been considered as a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants inhibit
oxidative mechanisms that lead to do generative diseases such as heart dis-
ease, brain dysfunction and arthritis (Prior et al. 1999). Dates are reported to
have antitumor activity, antimutagenic properties, and can lower the rate of
cancers, especially pancreatic cancer and activate immune system and regu-
late the role of antibiotics (Ishurd and Kennedy 2005, Mansouri et al. 2005,
Vayalil 2002). An aqueous extract of date flesh has potent free radical
scavenging activity of reactive oxygen species like superoxide (O) and
hydroxyl (OH) radicals (Vayalil 2002). The same extract also showed a
strong inhibitory effect on in vitro macromolecular damages such as lipid per-
oxidation and protein oxidation. Vinson et al. (2005) have reported that the
concentration of extracts required preventing LDL +VLDL oxidation with
cupric ions (1/IC50) by dried Deglet Nour and Zahidi dates was about 2.17,
which is five times higher than the antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin C
and E.
Studies conducted on antioxidant activity and phenolic content of various
fruits of dates demonstrated a linear relationship between antioxidant activ-
ity and the total phenolic content of date fruit extract (Alliath and Abdalla
2005). Fruits of different date palm cultivars have different total phenolics
content and antioxidant activity (Al-Farsi et al. 2007, Al-Turki et al. 2010).
The antioxidant properties of date fruits vary depending on their content
of phenolic components and vitamins C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids
(Mansouri et al. 2005; Al-Farsi et al. 2007). Sun-dried dates grown in Oman
(cv. Fard, Khasab, and Khalas) were found to be a good source of antioxidant
constituents including selenium (0.356 to 0.528 mg/100 g), total antioxidants
(8,212–12,543 mol Trolox equiv/g), carotenoids (0.92–2.91 mg/100 g), and
phenolics (217–343 mg of ferulic acid equiv/100 g). These results suggest that
all date varieties can serve as a good source of natural antioxidants and could
potentially be considered as a functional food or functional food ingredient
(Al-Farsi et al. 2007).
Aroma and volatile matter
A total of 80 volatile compounds have been detected in date fruits which
included 20 esters, 19 alcohols, 10 terpenes, 13 aldehydes, 6 ketones,
12 hydrocarbons, and 1 lactone (Arem et al. 2011). The identified compounds
accounted for 90.7–99.6% of the total aroma profile. The number of aromatic
compounds differed according to the maturation stage and to the fruit kind.
Other compounds (2-propanol, isoamyl alcohol, phenylethyl alcohol, isoamyl
MEDICINAL USES OF DATES 277
acetate, etc.) have also been identified in Tunisian dates. Each volatile com-
pound was characterized by an odor threshold (varying from a few ppb to sev-
eral ppm). Alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and terpenes were responsible for
the citrus, floral, and fruity characteristics of date aroma (Richard 1992). Two
straight chain aldehydes, nonanal and decanal were suggested to be respon-
sible for the fresh and slightly green notes of dates (Crouzet 1992). Terpene
or aliphatic alcohols are characterized by herbaceous, fruity, citrus, floral and
fungal odors (Richard 1992).
Medicinal uses of dates
In traditional medicine, the use of date fruit is recommended for treatment of
liver diseases and to be consumed by pregnant women before and after deliv-
ery (Al-Mamary et al. 2010). Although date fruit is admired for its nutritional
and pharmacological properties by the natives of Middle East and north-
ern Africa, it is still hardly recognized in the west due to the lack of suf-
ficient scientific documentation (Vayalil 2012). In vitro study of the aqueous
extract of palm date fruits showed antioxidative and antimutagenic properties
(Vayalil 2002). On the other hand, in vivo studies (Al-Qarawi et al. 2004,
Bastway et al. 2008) have shown that the ethanolic and aqueous date
extracts had hepatoprotective effects when they are fed to rats, in which
acute hepatotoxicity was induced by carbon tetrachloride and thioacetamide,
respectively. A number of other health benefits of dates consumption are
reported in the literature: e.g., anticancer activity (Sun et al. 2002), effect
on immume response (Pur 2000, Al-Chramawindi 2007), anti-ulcer activity
(Al-Qarawi et al. 2005), antimicrobial activity (Sabah et al. 2007), anti-
hyperlipidemic activity (Al-Maiman 2005, Rock et al. 2009), and positive
effect on reproductive system (Ali et al. 1999, Bahmanpour et al. 2006). How-
ever, date fruit is still poorly studied in relation to their total phenolic and
total polyphenolic compounds, and consequently their antioxidant activity.
Owing to its high nutritive values and potential health promoting activities,
date fruit may be considered as an emerging and potential candidate for the
development of health-promoting foods.
Glycemic index of date fruit
Carbohydrate foods when consumed in isoglucidic or isoenergetic amounts
have different glycemic potential and insulinemic response (Vayalil 2012).
Carbohydrates or carbohydrate foods are classified based on their glycemic
responses which are termed as the glycemic index (GI). An extension of the
GI concept is the glycemic load (GL). The GL value incorporates the amount
of digestible carbohydrates in a serving in order to better gauge the impact
of a diet on postprandial glucose response (Wolever et al. 1991). There are
various factors that influence the GI value of date fruit. It depends on the
type of component sugars (e.g., glucose, fructose, sucrose, or sorbitol), the
physical form of the carbohydrate (e.g., particle size), the nature of the food
278 CH11 DATE FRUIT COMPOSITION AND NUTRITION
item (fat, protein, and fiber content), and the modification of the food (e.g.,
food processing, extent of hydration) (Wolever et al. 1991, Augustin et al.
2002, Jenkins et al. 1981).
Few studies have been carried out to test the GI of date fruits. However,
the calculated GI values are inconsistent and sometimes are contradictory
(Vayalil 2012). Lock et al. (1988) provided the first report where the GI was
61.1 in pregnancy-related diabetic patients. However, the study did not con-
sider various important factors of date fruit like cultivar, maturity stage and,
the percentage available carbohydrate. Miller et al. (2002, 2003) found the
GI value ranged between 31 and 50 in normal subjects depending in one
variety where the value dropped (ranging from 29 to 47) when the fruit was
consumed either alone or as mixed meals (Miller et al. 2003; Denyer and
Dickinson, 2005). An international database of GI and GI/GL reported that
the GI of Australian dried dates was 103, which was significantly higher than
reported for dates from some other countries (Denyer and Dickinson 2005).
More recently, the GI of different varieties of dates from Oman was reported
to range from 47.6 to 57.7 (Ali et al. 2009).
Date-based functional foods
Inferior quality dates have been used to produce different value-added prod-
ucts to make the palm date as economically viable commodity to producers
and producing countries. As mentioned earlier, date fiber concentrate (DFC)
is one of the products obtained from lower quality dates. Since DFC has
high water-binding capacities (WBC) and oil-binding capacities (OBC) so
attempts have made to produce various functional foods based on DFC uti-
lization. The use of DFC in beef burger formulations has improved cooking
properties, e.g., increase cooking yield and decrease shrinkage and minimize
production cost without negatively affecting their sensory properties (Besbes
et al. 2010). The increased fiber content constitutes an additional nutritional
benefit for the consumer and permits a reduction of the amount of meat incor-
poration that passes from 63% in the control to 46% in the product with
1% DFC level.
Second-grade dates (Deglet Nour and Kentichi cultivars with a hard tex-
ture) were used to make jam by Besbes et al. (2009). Results showed a signifi-
cant effect of the date variety on the composition and physical characteristics
of date jams. Results from this work revealed essential information about jam
quality that could promote the commercialization of date jam.
Date pits
Date seeds (pits) constitute about 10–15% of the fruit, depending on the
fruit size (Almana and Mahmoud 1994). Many date-producing countries use
date pits as poultry and animal feed. Hamada et al. (2002) examined date
pits for extractable high value-added components for adding to functional
foods. Date pits are odorless and have light to dark brown color and a bland
REFERENCES 279
taste with slight bitterness. They contained 7.1–10.3% moisture, 5.0–6.3%
protein, 9.9–13.5% fat, 46–51% acid detergent fiber, 65–69% neutral deter-
gent fiber, and 1.0–1.8% ash. Pits had a substantial amount of oil that needed
to be characterized for constituent components, biological activities and sta-
bility. The chemical characteristics of seed oil from six Libyan date cultivars
were: iodine number 54.8, saponification value 207, and acid value 1.75 (El-
Shurafa et al. 1982). The major fatty acid found in date seed oil was oleic acid
(Al-Showiman 1990, Devshony et al. 1992) whereas fair amounts of lau-
ric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid ranging between 15.4% and 23.8%;
7.42% and 11.8%, 6.96%, and 10.2% were also reported (Al-Showiman
1990).
Properties of oil extracted from date pits revealed that the oil content
ranged between 10.19 and 12.67% (Besbes et al. 2004). Gas–liquid chro-
matography revealed that the major unsaturated fatty acid was oleic acid
(41.3–47.7%), while the main saturated fatty acid was lauric acid (17.8%) and
palmitic acid. Capric, myristic, myristoleic, palmitoleic, stearic, linoleic, and
linolenic acids were also found. Thermal profiles of both date seed oils, deter-
mined by their Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) melting curves,
revealed simple thermograms. Results showed that date seed oil could be
used in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food products.
Conclusion
Dates are consumed fresh or in the dried form. Dried dates can be classi-
fied as “intermediate moisture” foods. Besides being a rich source of carbo-
hydrates, dietary fibers, some essential vitamins, and minerals, dates are also
rich in a variety of phytochemicals, e.g., phenolics, carotenoids, anthocyanins,
procyanidins, and flavonoids. They are also high in insoluble fiber, which is
important for gastrointestinal health. Even date pits are an excellent source
of dietary fiber, minerals, lipids, and protein. In addition to their pharmaco-
logical properties, phytochemicals also contribute to nutritional and senso-
rial properties of dates. In date-producing countries, this fruit has been used
for centuries to treat a variety of ailments in the various traditional systems
of medicine. In recent years, research to assess the health benefits of dates
has interfiled and a number of studies have reported on the positive contri-
bution of dates to human diet. As compared to other fruits and vegetables,
regarded as functional foods (e.g., grapes and carrots), dates are equally as
valuable, due to their fiber and antioxidants. Overall, dates may be consid-
ered as a nutritious food that can play a major role in human nutrition and
health because of their wide range of nutritional and functional properties.
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... Values with the same letters in the same column for each group are not significantly different at 0.05 shown in the effect moisture content on the thermal properties at rutab satge. Dates are heterogeneous, in which they consist of minerals and organic component, such as sugars, fats, proteins, fiber, and acids, in addition to water, which is considered the major component of dates along with sugars (Ahmed et al., 2014), therefore the freezing point of date is lower than that of pure water and this depression is a result of the date constituents. The above results were in harmony with Rahman, (2004) who studied the effect of moisture content on thermal properties of khalas dates. ...
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