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PALM OIL PROCESSING

SCIENCE LABORATORY TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS

CHAPTER ONE

  • INTRODUCTION

It is generally agreed that the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) originated in the tropical rain forest region of West Africa (Ishiwu & Iwouno, 2006). The main belt runs through the Southern latitudes of Cameroon. Cotedivire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone. Togo and into the equatorial region of Angola and the Congo. Processing oil palm fruit for edible oil has been practiced in Africa for thousand of years and the oil produced, highly coloured and flavoured, is an essential ingredient in much of the traditional west Africa cuisine  (according to  Ishiwu & Iwouno, 2006). The traditional process is simple, but tedious and inefficient.

 

During the 4th to 17 centuries, some palm fruits were taken to the Americas and from there to the Far East. The plant appears to have thrived better in the Far East, thus providing the largest commercial production of an economic crop far removed from its centre of origin (Ihekoronye & Ngoody, 1999). Palm oil is rich in carotenoids (pigments found in plants and animals) form which it derivers its deep red colour, and the major component of its glycerides is the saturated fatty and palmitic, hence it is a semi-solid, even at tropical ambient and a solid fat in temperate climates. Because of its economic importance as an high-yielding source of edible and technical (Babayan, 2000).

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