Journal of Wood Science

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 488–494 | Cite as

Fractionation and characterization of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) as treated by supercritical water

  • Mahendra Varman
  • Hisashi Miyafuji
  • Shiro Saka
Original Article


In order to investigate the potential for efficient utilization of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), supercritical water treatment (at 380°C and 100 MPa for 8 s) was applied to fractionate extractives-free samples into water-soluble portion and water-insoluble portion. The water-insoluble portion was further fractionated into methanol-soluble portion and methanol-insoluble residue. Samples were prepared from various parts of oil palm, i.e., trunks, fronds, mesocarp fibers, shells, empty fruit bunches, and kernel cake. These fractionated products were then characterized analytically. The water-soluble and methanol-soluble portions were determined to be mainly composed of carbohydrate-derived products and lignin-derived products, respectively. The methanol-insoluble residue was mainly composed of lignin (more than 84 wt%) and the phenolic hydroxyl contents determined by the aminolysis method was higher than for untreated oil palm samples. In addition, an alkaline nitrobenzene oxidation analysis indicated that the methanol-insoluble residue contained fewer oxidation products than untreated samples did. These findings imply that the water-soluble portion could be utilized for organic acid production, whereas the methanol-soluble portion and the insoluble residue could be used for the production of phenolic chemicals.

Key words

Oil palm Supercritical water treatment Carbohydrate-derived products Lignin-derived products Lignin Phenolic hydroxyl content Alkaline nitrobenzene oxidation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Wong ED, Razali A-K, Kawai S (2000) Zero emission in palm oil industry: case study of east oil mill, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd., Malaysia. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Wood Science Symposium, November 1–2, 2000, Kyoto, pp 153–156Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shibata M, Varman M, Tono Y, Miyafuji H, Saka S (2008) Characterization in chemical composition of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). J Jpn Inst Energy 87:383–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ehara K, Saka S (2002) A comparative study on chemical conversion of cellulose between the batch-type and flow-type systems in supercritical water. Cellulose 9:301–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ehara K, Saka S, Kawamoto H (2002) Characterization of lignin-derived products from wood as treated in supercritical water. J Wood Sci 48:320–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Yoshida K, Kusaki J, Ehara K, Saka S (2005) Characterization of low molecular weight organic acids from beech wood treated in supercritical water. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 121–124:795–806CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dence CW (1992) The determination of lignin. In: Lin SY, Dence CW (eds) Methods in lignin chemistry. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 33–43Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Whiting P, Favis BD, St-Germain FGT, Goring DAI (1981) Fractional separation of middle lamella and secondary wall tissue from spruce wood. J Wood Chem Technol 1:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lai Y-Z (1992) Determination of phenolic hydroxyl groups. In: Lin SY, Dence CW (eds) Methods in lignin chemistry. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 423–433Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Katahira R, Nakatsubo F (2001) Determination of nitrobenzene oxidation products by GC and 1H-NMR spectroscopy using 5-iodovanillin as a new internal standard. J Wood Sci 47:378–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Varman M, Saka S (2009) Characterization of the different parts of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) as treated by supercritical water. In: Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of Japan Wood Research Society, March 15–17, 2009, Matsumoto, p 86Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hosoya T, Kawamoto H, Saka S (2008) Secondary reactions of lignin-derived primary tar components. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 83:78–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ralph J, Hatfield RD (1991) Pyrolysis-GC-MS characterization of forage materials. J Agric Food Chem 39:1426–1437CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japan Wood Research Society 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Energy Ecosystems, Department of Socio-Environmental Energy Science, Graduate School of Energy ScienceKyoto UniversitySakyo-ku, KyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations