Inter-esterification is one of the processes used to modify the physico-chemical characteristics of oils and fats. Inter-esterification is an acyl-rearrangement reaction on the glycerol molecule. On the other hand, hydrogenation involves addition of hydrogen to the double bonds of unsaturated fatty acids. Due to health implications of trans fatty acids, which are formed during hydrogenation, the industry needs to find alternatives to hydrogenated fats. This paper discusses some applications of inter-esterified fats, with particular reference to inter-esterified palm products, as alternatives to hydrogenation. Some physico-chemical properties of inter-esterified fats used in shortenings are discussed. With inter-esterification, more palm stearin can be incorporated in vanaspati. For confectionary fats and infant formulations, enzymatic inter-esterification has been employed.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.