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Palm oil (also known as dendê oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.
Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. It is not to be confused with palm kernel oil derived from the kernel of the same fruit, or coconut oil derived from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The differences are in color (raw palm kernel oil lacks carotenoids and is not red), and in saturated fat content: Palm mesocarp oil is 41% saturated, while Palm Kernel oil and Coconut oil are 81% and 86% saturated respectively.
Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats and is semi-solid at room temperature. Like other vegetable oils, palm oil contain no significant amounts of cholesterol, but saturated fat intake can increase a person's LDL and HDL cholesterol.[verification needed]
Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil. Its use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is widespread because of its lower cost and the high oxidative stability (saturation) of the refined product when used for frying.
The use of palm oil in food products has attracted the concern of environmental activist groups; the high oil yield of the trees has encouraged wider cultivation, leading to the clearing of forests in parts of Indonesia in order to make space for oil-palm monoculture. This has resulted in significant acreage losses of the natural habitat of the orangutan, of which both species are endangered; one species in particular, the Sumatran orangutan, has been listed as "critically endangered". In 2004, an industry group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed to work with the palm oil industry to address these concerns. Additionally, in 1992, in response to concerns about deforestation, the Malaysian Government pledged to limit the expansion of palm oil plantations by retaining a minimum of half the nation's land as forest cover.
Palm oil (also known as dendê oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the fruit pulp (or mesocarp) of the the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, Palm oil is the most heavily traded oil internationally:36 and accounts for roughly a third of the world's edible oil supply.:33
Unrefined palm oil is bright red in color, and semi-solid at room temperature. It is mainly composed of two fatty acids, palmitic acid (approximately 48%) and oleic acid (approximately 38%). :1673 The red color of unrefined palm oil comes from a high content of beta-carotenes and other carotenoids.
The increasing commercial use of palm has led some public health and nutrition experts to raise concerns about potential health impacts. These concerns are mainly related to palm oil's high palmitic acid content. Although the possible dangers of high-fat diets in general are well-known, the findings of research remain inconclusive on the potential health implications of palm oil in particular.
Environmental activists and many scientists have called attention to the negative impacts of expanding palm oil plantations on tropical forests and biodiversity, potentially contributing to greenhouse gas emmissions and climate change. Local and international human rights groups have also accused the industry of land grabbing, child labor and other abuses. In response to this range of environmental and social criticisms, many of the corporations that produce or purchase palm oil have embraced participation in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a voluntary certification standard initially proposed by the World Wildlife Fund.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-009-9760-x http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534708002528 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-008-9512-3 http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/deforestation/forest_conversion_agriculture/orang_utans_palm_oil/
Palm oil is distinct from the other common tropical oils. Palm kernel oil is derived from the same fruit, but from the kernel rather then the pulp. Rich in lauric acid, palm kernel oil is high in saturated fat content, and therefore has a higher melting point. It is similar in these respects to coconut oil. Unrefined palm oil is commonly used as a traditional food ingredient in Africa and Brazil, and these traditional red palm oils are sometimes derived from other species of palm.
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