Slow recrystallization of tripalmitoylglycerol from MCT oil observed by 2H NMR

Smith K.W., Smith P.R., Furó I., Pettersson E.T., Cain, F.W., Favre L., Talbot G., Slow recrystallization of tripalmitoylglycerol from MCT oil observed by 2H NMR, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007, 55(21), 8585–8588

The crystallization and recrystallization of fats have a significant impact on the properties and quality of many food products. While crystallization has been the subject of a number of studies using pure triacylglycerols (TAG), recrystallization in similarly pure systems is rarely studied. In this work, perdeuterated tripalmitoylglycerol (2H-PPP) was dissolved in medium chain triacylglycerol oil (MCT) to yield a saturated solution. The solution was heated to cause partial melting of the solid and dissolution of the molten fraction of 2H-PPP in MCT and was then cooled to the original temperature to induce recrystallization from the supersaturated solution. 2H NMR was used to monitor the disappearance of 2H-PPP from the solution and showed that recrystallization occurred in two steps. The first step was rapid, taking place over a few minutes, and accounted for more than two-thirds of the total recrystallization. The second step was much slower, taking place over a remarkably long timescale of hours to days. It is proposed that dissolution occurs from all parts of the crystals, leaving an etched and pitted surface. The first step of crystallization is the infilling of these pits, while the second step is the continued growth on the smoothed crystal faces.