Oil palm, scientifically known as Elaeis guineensis jaq, is a unique crop as its fruit produces two distinct types of oils; crude palm oil from the mesocarp and crude palm kernel oil from the kernel. Both of these oils, which are mainly made up of triglycerides, are chemically and physically different from each other with palm oil high in palmitic acid (C16 fatty acid) and palm kernel oil high in lauric and myristic acids (C12 and C14 fatty acids respectively).
Upon harvesting, oil palm fruits, which are produced in bunches called fresh fruit bunches (FFBs), are transported to a palm oil mill where the fruits are sterilised, stripped off the bunches, and crushed to extract the crude palm oil. The crude palm oil collected in a tank contains impurities, which are made up of both oil-soluble and -insoluble non-triglycerides. The oilinsoluble impurities such as fruit fibres, free moisture, and nut shells can later be removed through a purification process (see Figure 1). In the meantime, the nut shells are further processed to separate the kernels from the shells. At the end of the milling process, crude palm oil and palm kernels are produced.
There are many uses of palm oil and palm kernel oil and MPOC hopes that this booklet will be useful for you to better understand the applications of palm oil and palm kernel oil in the global oils and fats industry today.