High Oleic Peanuts Trials at MFK

From MFK Agronomist and Agricultural Program Manager, James Blanc
June 1, 2022

Meds & Food for Kids agriculture team is currently testing 8 new high oleic peanuts varieties in Haiti. MFK partners with Nutriset’s Head of Innovation, Monique Chan Huot, and Professor Naveen Puppala from New Mexico State University to make this trial possible. The varieties were kindly provided by Prof. Naveen Puppala. We are currently looking into some high oleic peanuts in order to match CODEX specifications.

Peanuts are very nutritious with many known health benefits. The quality of edible peanuts is primarily due to the chemical composition of the oil, protein, and carbohydrates fractions of the seeds. In fact, High Oleic peanuts have different oil chemistry than regular peanuts. 

Peanut oil chemistry is made up of 12 free fatty acids with only 3 of these being present in amounts exceeding 5%: palmitic, oleic, and linoleic. These free fatty acids comprise about 90% of the free fatty composition of the oil, with oleic and linoleic comprising about 81% + 2%.

High oleic peanuts exhibit improved characteristics of oil chemistry compared to normal oleic acid cultivars. High oleic peanuts have a lower iodine value which translates to increased oil stability and a higher ratio of unsaturated/saturated fatty acids. The main differences between a high oleic and a normal peanut are outlined in the included table.

High Oleic peanuts are also known as long-life peanuts because the natural substitution of oleic acid for inoleic acid provides a much longer shelf life. This allows peanut butter manufacturers to reduce the use of stabilizers, enhances export market opportunities due to shelf-life stabilization, saves on pre-coating costs, reduces barrier packaging costs, and increases flavor and flavor stability.

The team is currently testing 8 Spanish varieties: NMSU-308, NMSU-309, NMSU-310, NMSU-M2, NMSU-M-6, NMSU-M-7, Valencia-C, and PR-42. They are all of the Valencia variety of peanuts and will take only 3 months to grow before harvesting. The team is currently collecting data and will also proceed with some lab tests of the oil composition after harvest. We are excited to share the results of the ongoing research in the near future.