Nutmeg and derivatives-FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Nutmeg and derivatives-FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Executive Summary of FOA
Questions Addressed

The feasibility of extracting individual components from nutmeg and marketing these components is reported in this document. Within this context, an analysis was conducted of the trend in nutmeg production and trade in Grenada along with the importance of this crop as a source of income to the populace. A thorough scientific investigation of the individual compounds found in nutmeg and the viability of extracting these compounds was also covered. Finally, an economic evaluation is discussed in terms of cost of production, marketing and revenue outlook of extracting these components, and recommendations are made based on the findings.

Summary of Findings

Nutmeg production continues to play a pivotal role as a source of income, employment and revenue for Grenada. However, the recent decline in the nutmeg trading price on the international market has seriously affected the economy of the country.

Upon examination of diversifying the uses of nutmeg, one of its components, trimyristin, was seen as a potential marketable product. Trimyristin is a fat, and it comprises approximately 40% by weight of the nutmeg seed. A by-product of trimyristin is myristic acid, and this carboxylic acid is used commercially in the soap and cosmetic industry.

Another possible marketable product is nutmeg oil. Nutmeg oil, which is the essential or volatile oil of nutmeg, is approximately 12% by weight of the nutmeg seed. A steam distillation plant is under construction in Grenada to obtain the nutmeg oil. However, once the nutmeg oil is removed by the steam distillation, if nothing is done with the remaining components of the nutmeg, then 88% of the nutmeg seed is discarded. Most importantly, the trimyristin which is a potentially marketable product, will be lost. Trimyristin can be sold as any other fat or oil to be used as a source for making fatty acids, fatty alcohols, or glycerol which are used for the soap, cosmetic and oleochemical industries. Moreover, the equipment used to extract trimyristin from nutmeg can also be used to extract other products such as coconut oil from copra. Thus, the marketing potential of trimyristin demands that a pilot study be conducted on its extraction from nutmeg to evaluate the possible commercial production of this fat.