GLOSSARY

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation. They are added to oils and fats to provide greater stability and longer shelf life by delaying the onset of oxidative rancidity.

Bleaching

This is a process whereby pigments, impurities, trace metals; gums and oxidized materials are removed from oils and fats by absorptive cleansing using bleaching clays or activated carbon. Bleaching of edible oils or fats is generally carried out under vacuum at 70 ºC to 120 ºC.

Blending

Single or straight oils and fats are often unable to satisfy the complex technical specifications prescribed for a particular product application. Only by blending, i.e. mixing two or more straight or modified oils and fats, can the correct balance of properties such as melting point, plastic range, color, texture, iodine value, etc. be obtained.

Carotenes

Natural constituents that give crude palm oil its bright orange-red color and which are completely destroyed during refining. Carotenes can also be partially destroyed by oxidation under adverse conditions during production, storage and transport of crude palm oil. However, upon request, palm oil can be specially processed to maintain the carotenes.

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Centrifugation

Substances having different densities will separate by gravity. For instance, oil is lighter than water and easily forms a separate upper layer. The effect of gravity can be accentuated by centrifugation, i.e. by rotating the mixture to be separated in a container. Centrifugation is often used in oil mills and refineries to separate impurities and water from oils and fats and also fat crystals from a fat slurry after addition of a surface-active agent.

Chemical Refining

This refers particularly to the removal of free fatty acids by alkali. The alkalis used are usually sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or soda ash, either singly or in combination. One novel chemical refining technique uses aqueous ammonia as the alkali.

Cloud Point

This is a test to determine the temperature at which oil begins to cloud as a result of crystallization under controlled cooling. The cloud point is related to the unsaturation of an oil. In general, the higher the unsaturation of an oil, the lower its cloud point will be.

Cocoa Fat

This fat has a unique chemical composition, consisting mainly of the triglycerides POS (palmito-oleo-stearin), POP (palmito-oleo-palmitin) and SOS (stearo-oleo-stearin). lt is hard and brittle at room temperature but melts very sharply below body temperature. It therefore gives chocolate its desirable properties of ‘snap’ and ‘melt-in-the-mouth’, and is highly valued.