Last Update On Wednesday, 04 September, 2019 12:41:38 AM

Oil Palm in Sabah  > 


Palm oil is a kind of vegetable oil grouped broadly as follows:

1. Seed oils, such as groundnut or peanut oil, maize germ or corn oil, coconut
oil, palm kernel oil and soya bean oil; and

2) Fruit oils, especially olive oil, sunflower oil and palm oil.

World’s most produced Oil

Palm oil is forecast to be the world’s most produced and internationally traded edible oil.
Apart from being use as cooking oil, Palm Oil also found in an astonishing range of processed foods and cosmetics.

Supermarket products contains palm oil. Engineers targeting for the use of agro fuels in Europe, China and North America are making palm oil an even hotter commodity. Palm Oil can be used to produce biodiesel.



The tree
originated from Africa
The Oil
from the fruits

1 Oil Palm Planting
2 Crop nutrient
3 Cross-breeding
4 Disease of Oil Palm Tree
5 History of Oil Palm
6 Research
7 Palm oil production

8 Social and environmental impacts
8.1 Carbon balance
8.2 Palm biomass as fuel

9 Malayan folkculture


1 History of Palm Oil
2 Science and Research
3 Nutrition of Palm Oil
4 Red palm oil
5 Refined, bleached, deodorized palm oil

Uses as Biodiesel

International Palm Oil Market

Regional production of Palm Oil :
1 Indonesia
2 Malaysia
3 Colombia
4 Benin
5 Kenya
6 Ghana

Impacts of Oil Palm
1 Social
2 Environmental
3 Medical
4 Health
5 Blood lipid and cholesterol effects
6 Comparison with animal saturated fat


Palm Oil Refining Process

Production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and Palm Kernel (PK)

Fresh fruit bunches (FFB) are processed as soon as possible after cutting down from the trees to prevent a rapid rise in free fatty acids (FFA) which affect the quality of the crude palm oil (CPO).
Palm oil mills are generally located in the plantations to facilitate timely transportation and effective processing of FFB.
In 2001, there were 352 palm oil mills in Malaysia, of which about 70% were located in West Malaysia. The palm oil milling process involves the physical extraction of palm products namely, crude palm oil and palm kernel from the FFB.
The process begins with sterilization of the FFB. The fruit bunches are steamed in pressurized vessels up to 3 bars to arrest the formation of free fatty acids and prepare the fruits for subsequent sub-processes.
The sterilized bunches are then stripped of the fruit lets in a rotating drum thresher. The stripped bunches or empty fruit bunches (EFB) are transported to the plantation for mulching while the fruit lets are conveyed to the press digesters.
In the digesters, the fruits are heated using live steam and continuously stirred to loosen the oil-bearing mesocarp from the nuts as well as to break open the oil cells present in the mesocarp. The digested mash is then pressed, extracting the oil by means of screw presses. The press cake is then conveyed to the kernel plant where the kernels are recovered.
The oil from the press is diluted and pumped to vertical clarifier tanks. The clarified oil is then fed to purifiers to remove dirt and moisture before being dried further in the vacuum drier. The clean and dry oil is ready for storage and dispatch.
The sludge from the clarifier sediment is fed into bowl centrifuges for further oil recovery. The recovered oil is recycled to the clarifiers while the water/sludge mixture which is referred to as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) is treated in the effluent treatment plant (ETP).
The press cake is conveyed to the depericarper where the fiber and nuts are separated. Fiber is burned as fuel in the boiler to generate steam. The nuts are cracked and the shell and kernel are separated by means of a winnower and hydro-cyclone. The clean kernels are dried prior to storage.

From FFB to cooking oil, 2 milling processes are gone through :
1) Palm Oil Milling Process of FFB
2) Palm Oil Refining Process

About 80% of the national production of crude palm oil is used for food purposes, mainly as cooking oils. The CPO produced by the mills have to be refined to meet the industry’s and international standards (FAO’s Codex Alimentarius) for edible oils. The production of refined oil is undertaken in 57 refineries in Malaysia (Table 10) with a total refining capacity of 15.5 million tonnes CPO per year.
The refining process removes free fatty acids, phosphatides, odoriferous matter, water as well as impurities such as dirt and traces of metals from the CPO; the objective being to produce an edible oil of consistent quality that meets industry’s standards and satisfies customer requirements particularly in respect of FFA, moisture and impurities, Iodine Value, Peroxide Value, melting point, color and flavor. The refined oil must tasteless and have a bland flavor.
CPO is processed by either physical or chemical refining to produce either refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) or neutralized, bleached and deodorized palm oil (NBDPO). These are subjected to fractionation to obtain the respective liquid olein fraction and the solid stearin fraction. (Figure 6). Of the two processes, physical refining is the predominant approach adopted by the refineries as it is simpler, less capital intensive, more efficient and produces a lower effluent load.
Physical or steam refining begins with degumming when the CPO is treated with food grade phosphoric acid or citric acid to remove natural gums in the form of phosphatides , followed by bleaching with activated earth (Fuller’s Earth) under vacuum to remove coloring matters as well as to adsorb any metal ions. The treated oil is then heated to 240 C - 260 C under 2- 6 mm Hg (MEOMA, 2002) for simultaneous deacidification and deodorization. The FFA is stripped off by live steam and is recovered together with the entrained oil is as palm fatty acid distillate. The steam distillation process also removes odors and off-flavors from the CPO (‘Deodorization’). The oil is then cooled to 55°C before polishing.
In the chemical refining process, the FFA present in CPO is removed by neutralization with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), the concentration of the latter being dependent on the quality of the CPO feedstock. This chemical reaction produces neutralized CPO and a soap stock; the latter is separated from the oil by a high-speed separator. The neutralized oil is subjected to earth bleaching to remove color pigments and metal ions followed by deodorization - steam distillation under vacuum to remove odoriferous matters such as aldehydes and ketones.
The refined oil contains triglycerides of various compositions and melting points, the main fractions being palm olein and palm stearin. These fractions can be separated by dry fractionation, detergent fractionation and solvent fractionation. Dry fractionation is commonly used whereby the refined oil is allowed to crystallize under controlled temperature and the resultant slurry is pumped through a membrane filter press to obtain the liquid olein fraction and the solid stearin portion. The olein could also be fractionated for a second time (‘double fractionation’) to produce a ‘super olein’ and a solid palm mid-fraction (PMF) which is the feedstock for production of specialty fats and other products.


Fatty Acid Compositions of Palm Oil Products, Soy Oil and Coconut Oil
Source: Salmiah Ahmad, 2000

Palm Oil Palm
Soy Oil
C6:0       0.3 0.2  
C8:0       4.4 8.0  
C10:0       3.7 7.0  
C12:0 0.2 0.2 0.3 48.3 48.2  
C14:0 1.1 1.0 1.3 15.6 18.0  
C16:0 44.0 39.8 55.0 7.8 8.5 6.5
C18:0 4.5 4.4 5.1 2.0 2.3 4.2
C18:1 39.2 42.5 29.5 15.1 5.7 28.0
C18:2 10.1 11.2 7.4 2.7 2.1 52.6
Others 0.8 0.9 0.7 0.1   8.0
Iodine Value 53.3 58.4 35.5 17.8 9.5 133.0


Uses of Palm Oil Products

3 - Highly suitable
2 - Suitable
1 - Minor Application Only
0 - Not suitable

Product Palm Oil


 Palm Stearin (Soft)


 Palm Stearin (Hard)


 Palm Kernel Oil  


Shortenings 酥油 3 3 2 1
Vanaspati 3 3 1 0
Margarines人造黃油 3 3 1 3
Frying Fats 煎炸油脂 3 2 0 0
Cooking Oil (Hot Climate) 食用油(炎熱的氣候) 0 0 0 0
Specialty Fats for Coatings 特種油脂的塗料 0 3 0 3
Ice Cream 冰淇淋 3 0 0 3
Cookies 曲奇餅 3 2 1 0
Crackers 餅乾 3 2 1 3
Cake Mixes 蛋糕粉 3 2 1 0
Icing 2 1 0 0
Instant Noodles 方便麵 3 2 0 0
Non-Dairy Creamer 奶精 1 1 0 3
Biscuits 餅乾 3 2 1 3
Dough Fat發麵團 3 3 3 0


Palm oil is a form of edible vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the Oil palm tree. The oil palm is a tropical palm tree. Palm oil requires particular temperature conditions. Palm oil has a high solidification range of 41 - 31°C. In Malaysia it has a liquid consistency, but in temperate countries it is fatty and need heating.

Palm oil is produced from a species of palm tree originally from West Africa.
The species of tree has emerged over last few decades as one world’s widely used crops.
Palm oil goes into a range of products available in virtually every supermarket, pharmacy, and department store.
It is used in :
1) processed foods ranging from crackers to peanut butter to ice cream;
2) beauty products like shampoo, cosmetics, shaving cream, and soap (which account for nearly 10 percent of global consumption of palm oil);
3) industrial lubricants;
4) biofuel
Its versatility, combined with a yield far in excess of any other oilseed, has fueled its rapid expansion across southeast Asia: today, Indonesia and Malaysia—which account for 85 percent of global palm oil production—have more than 50,000 square miles of palm plantations, up from fewer than 580 square miles in 1984.
But the crop’s success has come at a great environmental cost: more than half of the expansion since 1980 has come at the expense of natural forests.
As such, palm oil has been targeted by environmentalists and scientists concerned about biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution.
Palm oil industry has been challenged by land rights issues and social abuses, since expansion is occurring in areas where communities may traditionally use forests but lack title to land.
It took a long years for oil palm of Malaysia to occupy its present position in biological, technical, managerial and environmental.
Oil Palm has both perennial and evergreen nature (giving a continuous year-round canopy cover intercepting a high proportion of incoming radiation), the year-round production of fruit bunches and the high partition of total assimilates into harvested product.
The fruit of new tree varieties has a higher proportion of flesh (from which the palm oil is obtained) relative to kernel (from which palm kernel oil is extracted). Generally, palm oil is used as cooking oil while palm kernel oil is used in making processed foods.
You can look forward to enjoying soap, shampoos and other palm oil products with a clean conscience following overwhelming acceptance by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) - a group of producers, buyers, retailers, financial institutions and NGOs - on a set of criteria for the responsible production of palm oil.

Known as the "RSPO Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production", the criteria give companies much-needed guidelines to produce palm oil in an environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible way. Its ratification was the result of a year-long participatory process involving a broad spectrum of stakeholders. WWF- Malaysia is an active member of the RSPO and was represented in the Criteria Working Group that helped develop the Principles and Criteria.



Palm Fatty Acid Distillate - 棕櫚脂肪酸蒸餾物
Crude Palm Oil - 毛棕櫚油
Palm Kernel - 棕仁籽
RBD Soya Bean Oil - 精煉豆油
Shortening - 起酥油
Margarine - 人造奶油

The fruit is reddish, about the size of a large plum and grows in large bunches. A bunch of fruits can weigh between 10 to 40 kilograms each. Each fruit contains a single seed (the palm kernel) surrounded by a soft oily pulp. Oil is extracted from both the pulp of the fruit and the kernel.

Nutrition : Palm oil is high in vitamin K and dietary Magnesium. Palm oil contains 43 percent saturated fats, 43 percent monounsaturated fats and 13 percent polyunsaturated fats.

Its high nutritional value means that the palm nut is eaten by a wide variety of animals, including, rather improbably, two birds of prey, the Palm Nut Vulture and the Harrier Hawk.

The Oil palm originated in West Africa but has since been planted successfully in tropical regions such as Malaysia within 20 degrees of the equator.

Cross section of an oil palm fruitCross section of an oil palm fruit

Every 100 kilograms of fruit bunches can extract 22 kilograms of palm oil and 1.6 kilograms of palm kernel oil.
Palm oil itself is reddish and contains a high amount of arytenoids. It is used as cooking oil, to make margarine and is a component of many processed foods.
Both palm and palm kernel oil are high in olefins, a potentially valuable chemical group that can be processed into many non-food products as well.

The high productivity of the Oil palm at producing oil (as high as 7,250 liters per hectare per year) has made it the prime source of vegetable oil for many tropical countries. Also, it is seen as a potential resource for producing the necessary vegetable oil for biodiesel.

There are two species of oil palm, the better known one is the one originating from Guinea, Africa and was first illustrated by Nicholaas Jacquin in 1763, hence its name, Elaeis guineensis Jacq.

Possible Health Concerns
Palm oil is a saturated fat that was taken out of many products in the late 1980's after an effective campaign waged in part by the American Soybean Association and the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) helped turn people away from all forms of "tropical grease." Tropical oils were therefore replaced by hydrogenated oils about two decades ago owing to health concerns. However, faced with the lack of trans fat free vegetable oil alternatives, some companies are quietly turning back to palm and other tropical oils. Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature, making it useful in products such as cookies, crackers, spreads, and bars. It is also less expensive than other vegetable oils. These companies oppose the claims of CSPI and argue that palm oil can be healthful. Labels for some products state that it has no trans-fatty acids. Also, although the so-called tropical oils, palm, coconut, and cocoa butter are high in saturated fats, evidence is still lacking about their effects on the heart. The countries with the highest palm-oil intake, Costa Rica and Malaysia, also have much lower heart disease rates and cholesterol levels than Western nations.

Palm and other tropical oils are thus reemerging partly because they are cheap and partly because more recent research appears to show that they may not all be as bad as once thought. Palm oil has a large portion of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and other antioxidants. Recent studies appear to show that it acts like an unsaturated fat in the body and may help reduce cholesterol. However, other research indicates that has had no effect on blood cholesterol. Thus, the health effects of palm oil are still debated. The means of processing the oil could be an important factor.


Palm Oil Inspection, Testing and Certification

PORAM Palm Oil Specification tests:
Free fatty acid
Moisture and impurities
Iodine value
Melting point
Saponifiable matter
Total fatty matter

Palm Oil Certification :
Full Out-turn guarantee FOG*
Supervision of shipment
Supervison of transport
Verification of quality
Verification of quantity
Verification of weight
Laboratory Analysis
Ship tank inspection
Storage tank inspection
Container tank inspection
Ship and Shore quantities
Discrepancies and loss investigation
Quality Control and sampling
Contract compliance

*FOG - Full Out-turn guarantee, is provided to cover commercial risks for loss in weight between loading and discharge.

Testing provided includes all contractual specifications normally included in the palm oil market, including requirements for PORAM, STC, GCP, SAVOLA, etc.


In Malaysia, 11% of the total land area (about 62% of the country's agricultural land) is devoted to palm oil.

CSPI, Environmental Defense, the International Primate Protection League, Rainforest Relief, WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia, and a dozen other organizations from around the world are urging the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other international aid agencies not to fund oil-palm development projects.

CSPI alleges that companies sometimes profit from selling logs from the rainforest and then burn the area to make way for oil palms.
The associated road-building, soil erosion, air and water pollution, and chemical contamination also have contributed to the loss of wildlife habitat and the displacement of indigenous peoples.

Soil erosion :
 loss of wildlife habitat...
...displacement of indigenous peoples.

Possible Environmental Concerns
A recent report from CSPI says that palm oil production contributes to the destruction of the rainforest. CSPI and some environmental groups are asking that companies which must use palm oil use as little as possible and obtain it from environmentally sustainable sources.

Michael F. Jacobson, who co-authored the report with wildlife ecologist Ellie Brown, said "consumers and food processors should realize that palm oil still promotes heart disease and that producing palm oil has a devastating impact on rainforest and endangered wildlife."
Most palm oil is produced in Malaysia or Indonesia. Production in Indonesia has grown more than 30-fold since the mid-1960s, such that almost 12,000 square miles are planted in oil palm.


Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter
Oil Palm in Malaysia