First insights of macadamia nut oil as dietary fat – Potential health benefits


*Corresponding author
1. University of Milan, Dept. Biomedical and Clinical Sciences “L. Sacco”, Italy
2. University of Milan, Pediatric Clinical Research Center “Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi”, Italy


Nowadays Macadamia oil (MO) is an attractive gourmet oil because of its stability during cooking due to the high smoke point. Moreover, it attracts much attention for its particular fatty acid composition.  Indeed, MO contains up to 80% of monounsaturated fatty acids and is the main dietary source of palmitoleic acid (POA). In cell culture and animals models, MO and POA have been shown to improve lipid and glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation. These beneficial effects suggest that MO may be a valuable dietary fat, especially in the countries where other monounsaturated fatty acid rich oils are not available; however, more research is needed to elucidate the impact of dietary MO on health. Given the increased commercial and scientific interest in MO, we aimed to review the scientific literature on potential beneficial effects derived by its consumption.


Macadamia oil (MO) is a versatile fat widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields, but recently is considered by many chefs a gourmet oil and marketed as specialty oil. 

The oil is obtained by cold pressing the nuts of two species of Proteaceae’s family, the Macadamia Integrifolia, cultivated in tropical countries, and the Macadamia Tetraphilla, suitable for subtropical and temperate areas. Macadamia nuts have a high lipid content: approx. 70% by weight in the M. Integrifolia (1) and 70- 80% by weight in M. Tetraphylla (2). 

As shown in Table 1, the oil contains up to 80% of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), in particular oleic acid (OA, C18:1, 40-51%) and palmitoleic acid (POA, C16:1, 24-36%). MO is the main source of POA in the human diet. The low content of PUFA produces good stability and low susceptibility to oxidation.  The oil is fluid at room temperature, has a neutral flavour and a pale yellow colour with an acidity index of maximum 2% mg KOH/g (3), a smok ...