Apricot kernels [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Aprikosenkerne
English Apricot kernels
French Amandes d’abricot
Spanish Semillas de albaricoque
Scientific Prunus armeniaca
CN/HS number * 1212 30 00

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

The apricot (rose family, Rosaceae) comes originally from China and the region between the Caspian and the Black Seas and is the stone fruit of the apricot tree. It is 4 – 8 cm in size.

Apricot kernels are the seed kernels of the apricot after they have been removed from the stones and are used in the production of liqueurs and persipan (marzipan substitute).

Apricot kernels, which belong to the class of oil-bearing seeds/fruits and are light-brown in color, have a very high fat content.

Oil content: apricot kernels have an oil content of 50 – 60%.

Quality / Duration of storage

The bags in which the kernels are packed must not be allowed to become sodden. Seawater, rain and condensation water encourage fat cleavage, which leads to self-heating as a result of increased respiration.

It is natural for apricot kernels to vary in color and this does not indicate quality degradation.

Apricot kernels may easily be stored for a year.

Intended use

Apricot kernels are used in the production of liqueurs (crème de noyaux), persipan (marzipan substitute) and persic oil.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, apricot kernels

Figure 1
Photo, apricot kernels

Figure 2

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Turkey, Spain, Greece
Africa South Africa
Asia Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon
America Argentina, Chile, USA
Australia Australia

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Apricot kernels are transported in flat jute fabric bags or boxes.

Marking of packages
Mark07.gif (2224 bytes)

Keep dry
Mark03.gif (1911 bytes)

Mark04.gif (3269 bytes)

Keep away
from heat
(solar radiation)

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Transport in ventilated containers („coffee containers“) is possible, subject to compliance with limits for water content of goods, packaging and flooring and for the oil content of the goods. In addition, containers must be protected from excessively severe solar radiation, as there is a risk of self-heating of the goods.

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this encourages fat cleavage, which may in turn lead to self-heating as a result of increased respiration.

It is also imperative that the goods be protected during cargo handling from excessively high temperatures caused by solar radiation etc. (risk of self-heating).

Stowage factor

2.30 m3/t (flat bags of jute fabric) [1]
1.67 m3/t (bags or boxes) [11]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry and well ventilated. The product must not be stowed near heat sources.


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets (preferred)

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the packages must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that they cannot slip, tip or shift during transport. If loss of volume and degradation of quality are to be avoided, the packages must not be damaged by other articles or items of cargo.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Apricot kernels require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Favorable travel temperature range: 5 – 25°C [1]

The travel temperature should not remain at 30°C or above for an extended period, as this encourages respiration, possibly resulting in self-heating.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Apricot kernels require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 65% [1]
Water content 5 – 8% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Sodden bags must be rejected. Moisture in all its forms encourages hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage, which, as a result of increased respiration, may lead to self-heating and thus to rancidity.

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RF Ventilation

Apricot kernels require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: > 10 changes/hour (airing), to remove any heat which may arise and prevent the formation of hot spots and consequent self-heating. Ventilation also prevents too high a CO2 concentration.

To ensure adequate airing, the cargo must be stowed so as to leave trenches.

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RF Biotic activity

Apricot kernels display 2nd order biotic activity.

They are goods in which respiration processes predominate, because their supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant.

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RF Gases

CO2 evolution During storage, apricot kernels evolve CO2 as a result of respiration (in particular in the case of fresh goods).
Upper limit of permissible CO2 content 5 vol.%

If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out. The TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol.%.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

Oil content: apricot kernels have an oil content of 50 – 60%.

Because of their tendency to self-heating/spontaneous combustion, apricot kernels may behave like substances from Class 4.2 of the IMDG Code.

The risk of self-heating is particularly great in the case of:

damp goods or bags/boxes, as these encourage hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage, so resulting in higher heat levels due to increased respiration
excessive stack pressure
inadequate airing, as this may allow hot spots to form
excessively high travel temperatures (> 30°C) due to solar radiation etc.
storage together with oil-impregnated fibers or fibrous materials.

Inadequate covering of steel parts with mats and the presence of light and oxygen may lead to oxidative fat cleavage, particularly if the apricot kernels have been skinned, i.e. removed from their antioxidant-containing seed coat. Brown discoloration and a rancid odor and taste are the consequence.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Apricot kernels do not release any odor.
Passive behavior Apricot kernels are highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Apricot kernels do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior The cargo is sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. The holds or containers must accordingly be clean and in a thoroughly hygienic condition before loading.

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RF Mechanical influences

Because of their mechanical sensitivity, apricot kernels must be treated with appropriate care during cargo handling, transport and storage.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Evolution of carbon dioxide due to respiration, especially with fresh goods. Take care when entering the hold. Use gas detector.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Apricot kernels lose weight due to the release of water vapor, if they were loaded when too damp.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

The sawtoothed grain beetle, confused flour beetle, dried fruit moth and tobacco moth may infest apricot kernels, so diminishing their quality.

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