Does palm oil have minor components present?

The minor components in crude palm oil are carotenoids, tocopherols, sterols, phosphatides, triterphenic andaliphatic alcohols. Though these minor components represent less than 1% of palm oil composition, they play a significant role in the stability andrefinability of the oil, in addition to increasing its nutritive value.

Palm oil


Crude palm oil contains500-700 ppm carotenoids, mainly as alpha- and beta-carotenes, the precursors ofVitamin A. Carotenoids are usually thermally destroyed during the deodorizationstage of the refining process. Their presence however, offers some oxidativeprotection to the oil by themselves being oxidised first prior to thetriglycerides.


Crude palm oil contains 600-1000ppm tocopherols and tocotrienols. These levels are slightly lower in refinedpalm oil. The major forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols present in palm oilare alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocotrienols. Tocopherols and tocotrienols areantioxidants and provide some natural oxidative protection to the oil.


The sterols in crude palm oilare in the form of sitosterol (218-370ppm), campesterol (90-151 ppm),stigmasterol (44-66 ppm), cholesterol (7-13 ppm) and others (2-18 ppm). Uponrefining, their levels are reduced to 68-114 ppm, 26-30 ppm, 12-23 ppm and 2ppm respectively. It must be emphasised that the cholesterol levels in bothcrude and refined palm oil are lower than levels in most vegetable oils.

Phospholipids andTriterpene Alcohols

These components are presentin extremely minute amounts in crude palm oil. The main forms of phospholipidsare phosph- a tidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol andphosphatidylglycerol. The triterpene alcohols are present in the form ofcycloartanol, beta-Amyrin, cycloartenol and 2,4-Methylene cycloartanol.

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