Vateria indica oil
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Vateria indica oil is extracted from the seeds of the Vateria indica plant, a species in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is indigenous to the following regions of India: the Western Ghats of Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada , Chikmagalur, Hassan), Kerala (Kannur, Calicut, Palghat, Thiruvananthapuram) and Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore, Annamalai, Tinnaveli). It thrives in the evergreen forests, surviving up to 800 meters above sea level. Oil from the seeds of the plant is extracted through a chemical refining process which makes the plant edible.
Common names in Indian languages
The Vateria indica tree is also known as the "Indian copal tree" and "dhupa". It is a large evergreen tree that can grow taller than 15 meters. Its timber is used in the manufacturing of matches and plywood and its leaves have medicinal uses. The bark is used in the Gur industry and in medicine as a treatment for malaria. The resin secreted from the tree trunk is well known commercially as white damar; it is used in varnish, candles, ointments, medicines and incense. The bark is grayish and smooth. Young branchlets are round and hairy and exude a resinous substance. The leaves are simple and spirally arranged. The stipples are caduceus-shaped. The leaf-stalks are 2-3.5 cm long, swollen at the apex and nearly hairless. The leaves are 8-27 x 4.5–10 cm in size and elliptic-oblong in shape. The tip of the leaf is abruptly long-pointed or blunt. The leaf base varies from rounded to heart-shaped. The leaf surface is leathery and hairless. The leaf midrib is flat above, and secondary nerves appear in 13-20 pairs. The flowers are borne on panicles in the leaf axis. The flowers have dense stellate hairs, and are white with yellow anthers. The capsule is pale brown, 3-valved and oblong. The size of the capsule is 6.4 x 3.8 cm. The sepals are persistent of seed. Flowering starts between January and March. The fruits ripen from May to July. The fruit yield is typically 400 to 500 kg per hectare. A good crop appears every 3 to 5 years, with one or two poor seasons and one or two average seasons in between.
Dhupa kernels are approximately 47% of the fruit, with the average kernel weighing 55 grams. The color of the kernel is reddish white or green, and it has a thick brown covering/hull and is hard, brittle and aromatic. The moisture content in a fresh kernel is about 41-47%; it also contains 19-23% of pale yellow fat/oil having a tallow-like consistency that turns white over time. Kernels are generally dried in sunlight or by steam to enable extraction of the fat/oil, which is generally around 25% of the dried kernel by weight.
Collection and processing
Seeds are collected immediately after the fruit falls to avoid germination in the wet soil or infestation by worms. Seeds are collected by hand and it usually it takes 4–5 weeks for all to be collected. The germ is removed by hand and the fruits are decorticated with wooden mallets; the kernels are broken and sterilized in the process. The kernels are dried by agitating them in a layer 4–5 feet deep under the sun in a godown. The kernel is broken up to 6–7 mm size and crushed through an expeller; 8-9% oil is recovered from the seed, then the oil cake is processed by solvent extraction to yield the remaining oil from the oil cake.
Oil and fat
Vateria indica oil is known as piney tallow or dhupa fat. Dhupa oil contains more than 55.0% saturated fatty acids. Hence, the oil remains solid at lower temperatures, so the oil is known as fat. The fat contains up to 40-45% stearic acid, up to 10-13% palmitic acid and up to 43-48% oleic acid. The linoleic acid content is only 0.5%. Also arachadic acid, a saturated fatty acid with 20 carbons, is present up to 5.0%.
|Linolenic acid||up to 0.5|
Dhupa fat is greenish yellow to white, fairly soft with a pleasant odor. It can be bleached by exposure to light.
|Refractive index at 600C||1.4577-1.4677|
Uses of oil
- Refined Fat is obtained after chemical conventional refining, and it is edible. It is used as a component for filling, as cocoa butter substitute/extender after proper processing, and in yarn-sizing and manufacture of candles, soaps and other cosmetics.
- It is used for edible purposes after refining. It is used in confectionary and as an adulterant of ghee.
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