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Palm oil is produced from the drupes of the oil palm.

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Production of palm oil

The plum-sized fruits of oil palms grow in large clusters and have to be separated from these clusters to obtain the oil. The orange to red fruits are then sterilised with steam. The heat at the same time deactivates an enzyme that would otherwise later separate the palm fat into glycerine and free fatty acids. If the content of free fatty acids is above 5 percent, the fat is not suitable for kitchen purposes.

After sterilisation the fruits are crushed and the palm oil released from the pulp. The obtained oil has the same orange to red colour as the fruits. This colour is caused by a high content of carotene. For the production of margarine this colour is wanted, for other purposes such as the production of vegetable oil palm oil is bleached.

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