Oil modification

There are 3 ways of Oil modification:

  • Hardening or hydrogenation. Under high temperature condition and by means of a catalyst, unsaturated bounds in the fatty acid chain are changed into saturated ones by the addition of hydrogen or the cis-unsaturated form is converted in a trans-unsaturated form. On this way oils are transformed in fats with various melting points. Soybean oil (BO) can be transformed in BO35 (melting point 35°C) or BO44 (melting point 44°C)
  • Fractionation. By controlled crystallisation of a fat (e.g. PO), followed by a separation of the crystals from the partially crystallised mass the fat can be divided in two parts:
    • Hard fraction called stearin: POs or palm stearin
    • Soft or fluid fraction called olein: POf or palm olein
  • Interesterification or rearrangement. By means of higher temperature and a catalyst the fatty acids are statistically rearranged on the glycerol molecule. If two different oils or fats are used, a completely new triglyceride composition can be made with other (more desired) properties.

The next picture gives an example of fats made from PO by the various modification techniques:

PO = straight Palmoil from Malaysia or Indonesia. Palmoil from Africa and South America can be softer.
PO44 = Palmoil hardened to a melting point of 44°C, widely used for a number of applications as such or in blends.
dfPOf = palmolein, obtained by dry fractionation (df), used as oil in warmer countries.
dfPOs = the by-product of the production of dfPOf, used as such or in interesterified form with e.g. laurics or oil.
inPO = interesterified PO.

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Copyright 2002 Gabrie Lansbergen Fats for Foods Consultant

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