Determination of Total Chlorine in Palm Oil

Palm oil and palm kernel oil production has grown drastically in the last 50 years. With more than 30 %, it is the largest contributor to global oil and fat production. Traditionally the food and cosmetics industries are amongst the main consumers with a share of 70 % of the world palm oil production, followed by usage for biofuel production. Palm oil is used in products like margarine, oil, spreads, chocolate, cleaning agents, cosmetics, candles and many more. To improve taste characteristics and shelf life palm oil needs to be refined. But refined palm oil can pose a health risk to consumers. Various studies carried out during the last years have proven the presence of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) fatty acid ester in refined palm oil. 3-MCPD is formed when fats and oils are exposed to high temperatures, in the presence of organic and inorganic bound chlorine, which often happens during the refining process. 3-MCPD is suspected to raise the risk of cancer. Animal experiments have shown that a higher uptake of 3-MCPD triggers kidney and liver damage and benign tumours. That‘s why, the World Health Organization has set a threshold level for the tolerable daily intake of 2 micrograms 3-MCPD per kilogram of body weight.

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