The sugar composition of the unfermented sap from oil palm (Elaeis guinensis) trees growing in the plantations of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, Benin City, has been determined. While sucrose concentration ranges from 9.59 to 10.59% (w/v) in the pure unfermented sap, that of either glucose or fructose is much less than 1% (w/v) (0.13-0.73% w/v). Raffinose occurs in traces only (0.13-0.35 w/v). These results were derived from our improved methods which eliminate completely, or reduce to a bare minimum, fermentation of the sap during collection. The variation with time of storage of the individual sugars in the sap during fermentation to form palm wine reveals that, as sucrose steadily decreases, fructose reaches a peak at 1.51% (w/v) at the 9th hour, and thereafter declines, while glucose and raffinose remain continuously low; all sugars disappear beyond the 33rd hour. Concomittantly, pH decreases from pH 6.60 at zero time and stabilizes at pH 3.30 after 48 h, while titrable acidity increases continuously up until the 96th hour. These changes account for the variations in the quality of palm wine during storages.
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 02/1988; 38(2):121-6. DOI:10.1007/BF01091716