Fractionation of Palm Oil
Because of its fatty acid composition, which includes 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids, palm oil can readily be fractionated, i.e. partially crystallized and separated into a high melting fraction or stearin and a low melting fraction or olein. Three main commercial processes for fractionating palm oil are in use: the fast dry process, the slow dry process and the detergent process. All these processes lead to specific products of different quality with different yield and operating costs. The physical and chemical characteristics as well as the triglyceride compositions by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of palm oil fractions from these industrial fractionation processes are given. Other varieties of products produced by specific fractionation are presented with analytical data: the superoleins, palm-mid-fractions and cocoa butter substitutes.