Degumming and Neutralization of Edible Oils
Degumming and neutralization are two essential processes in the production of edible oils. Edible oils are extracted from various sources, including seeds, fruits, and nuts, and are used in cooking, baking, and frying. However, these oils need to undergo certain processes to remove impurities and improve their quality - the degumming of vegetable oil.
The degumming process for edible oil involves the removal of phospholipids, proteins, and other impurities that can affect the quality and shelf life of the oil. This process is usually done using three methods: water degumming, enzymatic degumming, and acid degumming.
1. Water Degumming
Water degumming involves the addition of hot water to the crude oil, which hydrates and separates the impurities from the oil. The impurities are then removed by centrifugation or filtration.
2. Enzymatic Degumming
Enzymatic degumming, on the other hand, uses enzymes to break down phospholipids and other impurities. This process is milder compared to acid degumming and can produce higher-quality oils.
3. Acid Degumming
Acid degumming involves the addition of acid to crude oil, which breaks down the phospholipids and other impurities. This process can produce higher yields, but the quality of the oil may be compromised due to the formation of soaps.
After the degumming process, the oil undergoes neutralization to remove free fatty acids and other acidic impurities. Neutralization involves the addition of an alkali solution, such as sodium hydroxide, to the oil. The acidic impurities react with the alkali to form soap, which can be removed by centrifugation or filtration and hence marks the end of the degumming process of vegetable oil.
The degumming of vegetable oil is an important step in the production of high-quality edible oils. The three methods of degumming - water degumming, enzymatic degumming, and acid degumming - offer different advantages and disadvantages. After degumming, the oil undergoes neutralization to remove free fatty acids and acidic impurities. These processes ensure that the oil is of high quality, with a longer shelf life and improved stability.