• Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is fats?

    Fats are predominantly triesters of fatty acids and glycerol – commonly known as triglycerides. Triglycerides that appear as solid at room temperature are normally called fats while those that are liquid are referred to as oils.


    How does the length of carbon chains in fatty acids affect the melting point of oils and fats?

    The melting points of fatty acids generally increase with: –

    • increasing chain length
    • increasing saturation
    • changing of acis-to a trans-isomer

    Thus a short chain saturated fatty acid such as butyric acid will have a lower melting point than long chain saturated fatty acids
    ( e.g. palmitic acid ) and even some higher chain length unsaturated fatty acids ( e.g. oleic acid ). This property is reflected when the fatty acids form part of a triglyceride. The more saturated oil or fat may not necessarily have a higher melting point. For example, coconut oil which is about 87% saturated, but contains a high proportion of short chain fatty acids, has a melting range of 24°C – 26°C while palm oil which is about 49% saturated has a melting point in the range of 31°C – 38°C.

    What is the fatty acid composition of palm oil and its associated products?

    The table below gives the typical fatty acid composition of various palm oil products available in the market now.

    Fatty AcidNameCPOCP OleinSuper OleinCP Stearin
    C12:0Lauric Acid0.
    C14:0Myristic Acid1.
    C16:0Palmitic Acid43.739.831.562.2
    C16:1Palmitoleic Acid0.10.20.07
    C18:0Stearic Acid4.
    C18:1Oleic Acid39.942.449.224.8
    C18:2Linoleic Acid10.311.213.75.9
    C18:3Linolenic Acid0.40.30.3
    C20:0Arachidic Acid0.

    CPO : Crude Palm Oil
    CP Olein : Crude Palm Olein
    CP Stearin : Crude Palm Stearin

    What are the differences between palm oil and palm kernel oil?

    Palm oil is derived from the mesocarp of the palm fruit, while palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the fruit. The chemical characteristics of the two oils differ in terms of the fatty acid composition. Differences in chemical composition reflect themselves in differences in physical properties as well. The main differences in the chemical composition of the two oils are as follows:

    Palm OilPalm Kernel Oil
    Consists mainly of palmitic acid C16:0 43.7%, stearic acid C18:0 4.4%, oleic acid C18:1 39.9%, and linoleic acid 10.3%Consists mainly of lauric acid C12:0 48%, and myristic acid C14:0 16%


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Knowledge Base

Malaysian Palm Oil Industry

Today, 4.49 million hectares of land in Malaysia is under palm oil cultivation; producing 17.73 million tons of palm oil and 2.13 tons of palm kernel oil. Malaysia currently accounts for 39 % of world palm oil production and 44% of world exports. If taken into account of other oils & fats produced in the country, Malaysia accounts for 12% and 27% of the world’s total production and exports of oils and fats. Being one of the biggest producers and exporters of palm oil and palm oil products, Malaysia has an important role to play in fulfilling the growing global need for oils and fats sustainably. The industry provides employment to more than half a million people and livelihood to an estimated one million people.

(Source: Malaysian Palm Oil Council)

Palm Oil, Market share study

Malaysia is now the world’s second top producer of palm oil. With its large and growing palm oil industry, and strong global demand for palm oil, Malaysia has the potential to play a major role in the world food and biofuel markets.
In recent years, rising oil prices along with strong intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of transport sector has driven up demand for palm oil as an important raw material for transport biofuel, owing largely to its price and productivity competitiveness compared with other vegetable oils. Malaysia is now the world’s second top producer of palm oil, supplying about 12.8% of the global consumption of vegetable oils in 2009/10
(Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2011a.Malaysia oilseeds and products annual.) .