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The Mainstay of Palm Oil from Other Vegetable Oils

Doc. InfoSAWIT
The Mainstay of Palm Oil from Other Vegetable Oils

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – Palm oil (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.) was originally from West Africa namely around Angola to Senegal. Palm oil is one of 17 kinds of food oils traded in the globe. In food markets in the world, palm oil can be found as ingredient of one of 10 food products traded.

Palm oil has optimal terms and conditions to grow around equator which is tropical and humid within RH ~ 85%, and temperature about 24°- 32°C in every year, there should be abundant sunshine, rainfall (~ 2,000 millimeters). Indonesia gets the blessing from the Almighty where the agro-climate is good to develop palm oil trees. These made Indonesia as the main palm oil producer by producing more than 44% palm oil in the world.

That is why palm oil is always declared as the main commodity nationally in Indonesia. Oil which was derived from fresh fruit bunch (FFB), is proven to have superior and unique characteristic to other food oils. To optimally get the advantages from palm oil as the mainstay commodity, it needs to understand what the mainstays and characteristic of palm oil are.

The first, palm oil is known as safe oil for too long. This plant is known as palm oil producer, natural oil that men consume. Archeology notes found in Abydos, Egypt described that palm oil has been used for about 5.000 years ago. The application in the original country could be more than the years. The history of palm oil use which took for so long and spread to many countries showed that palm oil is trusted and known by the people as the safe oil.

The second, palm oil produces two main/kinds of oil. It is different from other vegetable oils. Palm oil tree produces two kinds and the two can be processed to be kinds of derivative products. FFB is full of oil.

FFB consists of shell and bunch (29%), seed or palm kernel (11%), and flesh (60%).  The pressing process (i) flesh of FFB produces crude palm oil (CPO) and (ii) palm kernel to produce crude palm kernel oil (CPKO); These two oils have chemical characteristics, different unique nutrients. In the implementation, CPO gets more processes to be palm cooking oil that it in CPKO.

The third, palm oil has many or wide application. It is potential to be applied in food, and non-food needs. In food, palm oil is used/processed as palm cooking oil, shortening, margarine, vanaspati, cocoa butter substitutes, and others. For non-food application, palm oil can be processed to be oleochemical, biodiesel, and other non-food industries, such as, pharmacy. But the main applications are for food sectors still. (*)

By: Prof Purwiyatno Haroyadi

Source: Majalah InfoSAWIT, October 2010