It is an edible oil, extracted from the pulp of the fruits that grow in the bunches of the palm trees. The extraction of the oil happens by crushing the fruits. Nowadays, it is the main vegetable oil in production and commerce in the world.
Currently, about 80% of this production is directed to the food industry, as it is raw material for products of great consumption, such as margarines, creams, ice creams, cookies, chocolates, fillings and substitutes for cocoa butter and cooking oil.
It is great for frying, since it is one of the few oils that keep its properties even in high temperatures. Besides, it is a product with soft texture and great culinary application, whereas it does not have any odors that might interfere in the taste of food. Besides, the oil already contains natural preservatives that increase the lifespan of the products, yields more compared to other oils and most importantly it is free of ‘Trans’ fats, neither genetically modified organisms.
The palm oil also allows for the manufacturing of hygiene and cleaning products, cosmetics, drugs and lubricants, without mentioning its use in biofuels and bioenergy.
The other byproduct of the palm is the palmist, which has great industrial application. It is a vegetable oil derived from the palm’s almond. The palmist is an oil that remains semisolid in room temperature, since it is more saturated than palm oil, and very similar to coconut oil.
The gross palmist oil has several characteristics that are very different from those found in palm oil. Since it has mainly short-chain fatty acids (C12:0, C14:0), it presents physical characteristics that are very specific and arouse great interest for the cosmetics industry, which utilizes this starting material in the fabrication of soaps or as a substitute for cocoa butter. As it presents a low degree of unsaturation in its fatty acids, palmist has a high oxidative stability.
Palmist, like many other vegetable oils, can also be used in the production of biodiesel for internal combustion engines.