Food Science and Technology Department


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Aemiro Tadesse Zula, Derese Tamiru Desta & Mary S. Willis (2021) Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fried in recycled palm oil: implications for nutrition and health, International Journal of Food Properties, 24:1, 806-817, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2021.1931304


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Fish constitutes a occasional food for the Sidama people of Hawassa, the capital city of Ethiopia’s Sidama Region and the site of a large endorheic lake. Freshly-caught fish, especially Nile tilapia or koroso in Local name, are typically fried prior to consumption. Despite the sensory qualities, fried foods are not always advisable due to the impact of frying on the nutritional quality of food. This study was designed to assess the nutritional quality of Nile tilapia that had been fried in the same palm oil over six consecutive frying cycles. The raw fish were purchased from the Lake Hawassa fish market and fried at Hawassa University by simulating local preparation methods. A gas chromatography- mass spectrophotometer (GCMS) was used for the fatty acid profile analysis and a total of 22 fatty acids were elucidated. The nutritional quality indices of fatty acids was determined by calculating the recommended formula and JMP pro 13 was used for statistical analysis. The study results revealed that the tilapia fried in the oldest, most used oil, cycles 3–6, contained high amounts of saturated and trans fatty acids, as well as high atherogenic and thrombogenic indices; however, it was also lower in essential and cis fatty acids, the hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic ratio, the per-oxidizability index, and the nutritive value index. Conversely, fish prepared earlier (cycles 1–3) with fresher oil were higher in essential fatty acids and cis fatty acids, while the hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic ratio, the per-oxidizability index, and the nutritive value index were also high. Fish fried in an earlier cycle were also low in saturated and trans-fatty acids, with a lower atherogenic index, and thrombogenic index. Therefore, it can be concluded that repeatedly using the same frying oil to prepare Nile tilapia contributed to the loss of nutritional value. Results suggest that palm oil should be limited to no more than three frying cycles to maximize nutritional intake in of fish consumption.

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