In Qatar and GCC countries, palm trees are considered as a symbol of culture due the great number of palm trees. Qatar classified as the third country import the dates for consumption among the world, it produces around 16,500 tons of dates every year mostly for local consumption. Though the high production and consumption of dates in GCC countries, there are no enough studies and investigations of the date's pits despite its high nutritional values and content that the few studies and analysis proved in some countries. This study aim to produce innovative food products from date pits as there are no investment for date pits and its nutritional value in Qatar. Therefore, proximate analysis and minerals analysis were done before developing a product containing date pits powder as the main ingredient to have accurate data about the chemical composition of each product. The main purpose of mineral analysis is to measure and determine mineral composition in general and lead content in date pits to which is related to safety of the food product that we will produce.

The main objectives of this research are:

1. To do proximate and minerals analysis of date pits (Phoenix dactylifera) that are cultivated in GCC countries (three varieties: khalas, khunaizi, sagei)

2. Developing a food product from date pits powder (cookies and muffin).

• Minerals: mineral constituents present in the date pits of three varieties (Saqei, Khalas and Khunaizi) were analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer.

• Proximate analysis:

 1. Seed Material and sample preparation: Date pits were obtained from Qatar and Bahrain. The pits of the two countries under investigation (Saqei and Khunaizi) (Khalas dates pit were excluded due to the high content of lead), they were directly isolated from 60 kg of date fruit, collected at the “Tamr” stage which is in the full ripeness. Date pits of each variety have been separated and milled in a heavy duty grinder to get homogenous blended mixture. Date pits powder was kept in a durable and leak proof containers.

 2. Analytical methods: All analytical determination were performed in triple trials for each analysis. Values were expressed in the form of mean ±  standard deviation (Chemical analysis of powdered pits (determined by AOAC- Association of Official Analytical Chemists)).

 3. Fat content: The weight of total fat extracted from date pits was determined using Soxhlet Extraction Method. Results were expressed as percentages.

 4. Protein content: The total protein was determined by Kjeldahl method and it was calculated by using the general factor (6.25).

 5. Ash content: Ash was determined by removing carbon through taking 2 g of each variety, then it has been incinerated in the muffle furnace for 30 min at 600°C. After breaking up the ash with drops of water, put in the furnace for 3 hours.

 6. Carbohydrate content: The total carbohydrate with fiber was calculated by subtracting from 100% the summation of the percent of total moisture, protein, fat and ash.

• Food product development: cookies and muffin have been produce from four different percentages of date pits (100%, 75%, 50% and 25%).

Proximate analysis: Average of two trials for each variety. For khunaizi: CHO (84.32 %), protein (5.89), fat (3.8%), ash (0.48%) and moisture (5.39%). For sagei: CHO (79.81%), protein (5.57%), fat (2.89%), ash (0.72%) and moisture (0.86%). Minerals analysis (ppm): for Khalas: Mn: 22.881, Pb: 0.498, Cr: 40.827, Zn: 29.212, Mg: 838.983, Fe: 207.078, Cu:ND, Cd: 0.348, Ca: 438.434. For Khunaizi (PPM): Mn: 19.288, Pb: ND, Cr: 11.193, Zn: 15.540, Mg: 859.984, Fe: 77.003, Cu:ND, Cd: ND,Ca: 328.652. For Sagei (PPM): Mn: 8.202, Pb: ND, Cr: 0.323, Zn: 13.686, Mg: 559.365, Fe: 309.465, Cu:ND, Cd: 18.925, Ca: ND.

Quality rating for food product development using date pits (muffin and cookies): total quality number (out of 20 points) For muffin and cookies containing 25% date pits powder =  20 points; for 50% = 19 points; for 75% = 15 points; and 3 points for muffin and cookies containing 100% date pits powder.

Pits of date palm could be an excellent source of functional foods components as it is inexpensive and rich source of carbohydrate (mostly fiber) as shown in the analysis results of date pits from two leading varieties in Qatar (Sagei and Khunazi). The results also prove that date pits powder from Khalas variety of date is unsafe for production of food as it contain significant amount of lead.


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