Development of dual stage solvent fractionation as an approach to concentrate carotenoids from crude palm oil with high recovery: the potential use of molecular simulation as a pre-screening tool

Shi Cheng Tong, Yee Ying Lee, Teck Kim Tang, Eng Seng Chan, Eng Tong Phuah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Crude palm oil (CPO) is highly abundant in carotenoids. Previous findings found that dry fractionation can concentrate carotenoids from CPO but resulted in a significant loss of carotenoids. Therefore, the present study aimed to utilize solvent fractionation, which offers a better separation efficiency, to concentrate carotenoids from CPO with improved recovery. Computational study revealed a high binding affinity of phytonutrient towards unsaturated triacylglycerols (TAGs) species in olein fraction due to similar polarity. This prediction was further verified with evidence showing strong, positive correlation between the iodine value and carotenoids concentrations of fractionated oil. The difference in binding affinity of saturated and unsaturated TAG towards different solvents can be used as a guide for screening and selection of solvent suitable for recovery of phytonutrient during solvent fractionation. Subsequently, a lab-scale single- stage fractionation study disclosed that crystallization temperature of 15°C, oil to acetone ratio of 1:5 (w/v) for 4 h under agitation at 100 rpm produced olein with the highest carotenoid concentration (637 ppm) and recovery (94%). Subsequent double-stage fractionation successfully concentrated the carotenoids up to 125% with a recovery of >93%. Conclusively, solvent fractionation provides an effective way to concentrate valuable carotenoids from CPO while minimizing the lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-899
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • carotenoid
  • double fractionation
  • in silico study
  • palm oil
  • recovery
  • solvent fractionation

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