Mace [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 Muskatblüte, Macisblüte
English Mace
French Macis, Fleur de muscade
Spanish Macis
Scientific Arillus myristicae of Myristica fragrans
CN/HS number * 0908 20 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Mace is the dried, crimson-colored, lacy seed covering (aril) removed from the nutmeg, which is enclosed in a peach-like fruit. It comes from the Moluccas.

Odor and taste are highly aromatic and spicy. Postharvest air-drying renders mace hornlike, brittle and waxy. In its commercial forms, mace is pressed flat and dried or ground.

The term spice is used to refer to plant parts which serve to improve the odor and flavor of foods. They contain essential oils and other ingredients which have a strong seasoning action.

Spices are processed, cleaned, graded and carefully packaged for overseas dispatch in the countries where they are cultivated. They are dried to preserve them for transport and storage. In consumer countries, they are delivered to spice mills, where they are cleaned and graded again, ready for sale in unground or ground form.

Spices are classified by the plant parts used:

Fruit and seed spices (e.g. pepper, mace)
Bud and flower spices (e.g. cloves)
Bark spices (e.g. cinnamon)
Root spices (ginger, turmeric)
Leaf spices (bay leaf)

Oil content:

essential oils:

10.0 – 15.0% (in particular myristicin) [1]
4 – 12% [14]
12% [28]

fatty oils:

approx. 30% [1]
20% [14]

Quality / Duration of storage

Provided that the recommended storage conditions are complied with, mace may be kept for up to 12 months.

Intended use

Its more delicate aroma makes mace superior in seasoning action to nutmeg. It also has a spicier or more fiery taste. It is used as a baking and sausage spice and in the production of oil of mace.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, mace

Figure 1
Photo, mace

Figure 2
Drawing, nutmeg branch

Figure 3

Countries of origin

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

Asia Indonesia (Siauw/Ambon, Padang and Ternate), Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, India, Philippines
America West Indies (Grenada, Trinidad, St. Vincent), South America

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Mace is packaged in, among other things, boxes (60 – 100 kg) and jute fabric bags (30 – 60 kg).

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Standard containers may be used, subject to compliance with lower limits for water content of goods, packaging and container flooring.

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold, spoilage, a foul smell and black coloration.

Hooks must not be used in handling bagged goods as they subject the bags to point loads, so damaging them. Due to their shape, plate or bag hooks apply an area load and are thus more suitable for handling bags.

Stowage factor

3.26 m3/t (flat jute fabric bags, 60 kg) [1]
2.30 m3/t (boxes) [1]
1.95 – 2.09 m3/t (bags) [11]
2.37 – 2.65 m3/t (boxes) [11]
2.55 – 2.83 m3/t (boxes from Indonesia) [14]
2.41 – 3.26 m3/t (boxes) [14]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets, wooden dunnage

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the cargo must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that it cannot slip 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

Mace requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

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

Mace should be transported in areas which exhibit the lowest temperatures during the voyage and are dry. In any event, storage beneath the weather deck or, in the case of shipping in containers, in the uppermost layer on deck, must be avoided as the deck or container is strongly heated by the intense tropical sun and, at temperatures of > 25°C, essential oils may be lost.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Mace requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 60 – 70% [1]
Water content up to 10% [1], [15]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Spices are hygroscopic goods (hygroscopicity), which interact with the moisture in the air. Elevated moisture levels cause mace to go moldy, exude a foul odor and turn black and unattractive.

The effects of less drastic moisture damage may be remedied, but it has to be accepted that the quality of the product will be reduced due to brittleness.

Mace should be stowed away from goods which are sensitive to moisture/humidity or release moisture (e.g. copra).

In order to prevent condensation on the ship’s side or container walls from affecting the cargo, care should be taken to leave a clear gap between the cargo stack and the ship’s side or container wall.

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RF Ventilation

Mace requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

If the product is at „shipping dryness“, it does not have to be ventilated during transport. However, if the water content does not meet these guidelines, the following ventilation measures should be implemented to eliminate the potential for dampness:

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing)

In order to avoid formation of mold, the stowage space should be cool, dry and, most particularly, easy to ventilate.

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RF Biotic activity

Mace displays 3rd order biotic activity.

Mace belongs to the class of products in which respiration processes are suspended, but in which biochemical, microbial and other decomposition processes still proceed.

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RF Gases

No risk.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

An elevated moisture content and excessively high temperatures create a risk of self-heating.

Oil content:

essential oils:

10.0 – 15.0% (in particular myristicin) [1]
4 – 12% [14]
12% [28]

fatty oils:

approx. 30% [1]
20% [14]

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RF Odor

Active behavior Mace has a strong, pleasant odor.

When transporting spices, it is important to retain the content of essential oils to the greatest possible extent, since these substances, together with other constituents, such as fatty oils, tannins and bitter principles, determine the odor and flavor and thus quality of the spices.

The essential oils are readily volatilized and the seasoning action of the spices is consequently reduced. Volatilization of the essential oils is primarily determined by temperature. The higher is the ambient temperature, the more the essential oils are volatilized, as may be recognized by the intense odor in the hold.

Due to the readily volatilized essential oils, spices should always be stowed separately from each other and away from foodstuffs which readily absorb foreign odors (e.g. coffee or tea).
Passive behavior Mace is highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Mace does not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Mace is sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

Mace is fragile and must therefore be treated with appropriate care, particularly during cargo handling.

With bagged cargo, point loads applied for example by hooks may result in damage (tears) to the bags and thus in loss of volume. Plate or bag hooks, which, due to their shape, distribute the load and reduce the risk of damage, should thus be used.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Mace which has been subject to mold growth may, even after reconditioning, be contaminated with aflatoxin from the mold Aspergillus flavus.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The natural drying process of the product may cause loss of weight.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Mace is susceptible to insect infestation, but this may be countered by fumigation prior to loading (especially in the case of mace from Papua New Guinea).

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