A review on the fundamentals of palm oil fractionation: Processing conditions and seeding agents

Shi-Cheng Tong, Teck-Kim Tang, Yee-Ying Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Fractionation is a well-established process adopted in the fats and oils industries. It involves the separation of low and high melting triacylglycerol under controlled cooling conditions into olein and stearin fractions with distinct chemical and physical properties. Amongst the other vegetable oils, palm oil is one of the most fractionated oils in the past few decades mainly attributed to its semisolid properties. The various fraction of palm oil allows it to be used in different types of food products such as margarine, frying oil, and cocoa butter substitute. In fractionation, proper control of the fractionation conditions is important to produce the fractions with desirable stearin and olein quality. The purpose of this paper is to critically review the fractionation conditions (crystallization temperature, agitation, cooling rate and crystallization time) that affect the yield and quality of the oil produced. Additionally, it also provides the latest updates on the influence of seeding agents (diacylglycerol, monoacylglycerol, hard fat, phytosterol, phospholipid, lecithin, essential oil, sugar, polyglycerol ester, and talc) used in fractionation. This article is useful to provide a fundamental understanding of fractionation to scientists from the industries or academia working in the fats and oils industries. Practical Applications: This paper provides an in-depth understanding of fractionation particularly on the parameters of fractionation in influencing the quality and yield of the stearin and olein produced. It also for the first time presents the effect of addition of various seeding agents on palm oil fractionation which can help the industry to select the appropriate seeding agents to improve the currently employed fractionation process. Thus, it can act as a guideline for the industry to understand and select the appropriate fractionation conditions when developing a new product using this approach. The fractionation conditions discussed here can also be used as a reference when fractionating other types of fats and oils as most of them share a common background.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100132
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Lipid Science and Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • cooling rates
  • fractionation
  • palm oil
  • seeding agents
  • temperature

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