The effect of bleaching and physical refining on color and minor components of palm oil
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- Rossi, M., Gianazza, M., Alamprese, C. et al. J Amer Oil Chem Soc (2001) 78: 1051. doi:10.1007/s11746-001-0387-8
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An industrially degummed Indonesian palm oil was bleached and steam refined in a pilot plant to study the effect of processing on oil color and on the levels of carotenoids and tocopherols. Five concentrations of one natural and two activated clays mixed with a fixed amount of synthetic silica were used for bleaching. For color measurement, the Lovibond method was compared to the CIE (Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage) L*,a*,b* method. The results showed that the L*,a*,b* method is repeatable and that the values found are highly correlated with the carotenoid content of bleached oil samples. The various clays and synthetic silica mixes removed 20–50% of the carotenoids in the degummed oil, depending on clay concentration and activity. For the two activated clays, pigment adsorption increased with clay amount. Steam refining totally destroyed carotenoids in the claytreated oils by heat bleaching. Total tocopherols in the crude oil amounted to 1000 mg/kg, with γ-tocotrienol as the main tocopherolic component followed by α-tocopherol, α-tocotrienol, and δ-tocotrienol. Tocopherol concentrations increased after the bleaching treatment with the most acid clay, and the increase was proportional to the amount of clay used. Both bleaching and steam refining changed the ratios between the various to copherolic components, especially increasing the relative concentration of α-tocotrienol in the refined oil. An average 80% tocopherol retention was obtained after the treatment with acid clay + synthetic silica and steam refining of palm oil.