Palm Oil


5.5  Palm Oil

1. Structure of oil palm fruit

  • pulp/ mesocarp which contains the most palm oil
  • kernel which contains the best quality palm kernal oil
  • shell/ endocarp which does not contain oil

2. Sequence in the industrial extraction process of palm oil


Bunch of oil palm fruits




Pulp (extraction of palm oil)



Pure palm oil 

Kernel (extraction of palm kernal oil)


Pure palm kernel oil


3. Palm oil is made up of 2 parts: 

  • glycerol
  • fatty acids

4. Nutritional content of palm oil

  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Antioxidants
  • Substances in palm oil which constitute less tahn 1%

5. Use of palm oil in healthcare and food

  • cooking oil
  • vegetable oil
  • margerine
  • chocolate
  • supplements 
  • cosmestic
  • soap

6. Soap production 

  • Oil + Alkali → Fatty acid salt (soap) + glycerol
  • Molecular components of soap
    • hydrophilic part which can dissolve in water
    • hydrophobic part which cannot dissolve in water but can dissolve in oil or grease
  • Cleansing action of soap

When soap dissolves in water, the surface tension of water is reduced

The hydrophobic part of the soap molecules dissolve and attach to the greasy dirt on the cloth &

the hydrophilic part dissolve in water

Scrubbing and brushing the cloth will dislodge the greasy dirt from the cloth surface to form greasy droplets

These greasy droplets surrounded by soap molecules and suspended in soapy water

Soap bubbles produced by soapy water trap greasy droplets in the soapy water

When soapy water and bubbles are removed during rinsing, the greasy dirt will be removed

7. Scope of sustainable management and its importance in the palm oil industry
Land use Replanting to optimise land use
Wastewater Palm oil mill effluent produced from sterilisation processes are made into organic fertilisers and biogas energy substances
Air quality Carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen is released by oil palm trees during photosynthesis 
Oil palm waste Sustainable management of oil palm industry normally practices zero waste concept