Michigan State University
Research on peanut (Arachis hypogeae L.) genotypes has shown a high degree of genetic variability in fatty acid composition. The two major oil fatty acids, oleic and linoleic, range between 36-69% and 14-40%, respectively, and together make up 75-85% of total fatty acids. The very long chain (C20-C24) fatty acids make up 4-9%, palmitic acid 7-13%, and stearic acid 2-5% of total fatty acids. Stability of oil samples as measured by length of autoxidation induction period at 60 C shows variable but statistically significant (P<0.01) correlations with levels of linoleic acid; peanut butter samples show similar patterns of stability. Selection for lower levels of linoleic acid in the development of new varieties of peanuts should results in products with significantly improved shelf life. Some genotypes show consistent differences in oil stability patterns that are not related to oil linoleic acid content. Analysis of entries from 16 wild Arachis species collections revealed levels of oil linoleic acid higher than those found in A. hypogaea. One species, A. villosulicarpa, contained 49% linoleic acid and 21% very long chain acids. The range in linoleic acid within A. hypogaea and availability of suitable techniques for measuring selection progress give scope for product improvement through breeding. © 1977 The American Oil chemists' society.