Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil, particularly important as a cooking oil, as an ingredient in processed foods, and, increasingly, as a feedstock for both biodiesel production and chemical manufacture. Oil palm is grown extensively around the world, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, West Africa, and parts of South America. Crude Palm Oil (CPO) is extracted from the flesh (known as the mesocarp) of the oil palm fruit by mechanical pressing, and is then refined.
Breeders of oil palm are constantly striving to improve the yields they achieve from their plantations, and one of the ways to do this is to improve the genetic quality of the palm fruits by selection, so that they produce more oil.
The oil content of palm mesocarp has traditionally been measured using a wet chemical method, Soxhlet extraction (typically with hexane as a solvent). This method is time consuming (typically 16 hours per extraction), has poor reproducibility, and requires the use of hazardous chemicals. Our benchtop MQC+ NMR analyser offers a method that gives results in only minutes per sample, is much more reproducible than the traditional extraction method, and uses no solvents or other chemicals.