The reduction of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) ester formation in refined palm oil was achieved by incorporation of additional processing steps in the physical refining process to remove chloroester precursors prior to the deodorization step. The modified refining process was optimized for the least 3-MCPD ester formation and acceptable refined palm oil quality using response surface methodology (RSM) with five processing parameters: water dosage, phosphoric acid dosage, degumming temperature, activated clay dosage, and deodorization temperature. The removal of chloroester precursors was largely accomplished by increasing the water dosage, while the reduction of 3-MCPD esters was a compromise in oxidative stability and color of the refined palm oil because some factors such as acid dosage, degumming temperature, and deodorization temperature showed contradictory effects. The optimization resulted in 87.2% reduction of 3-MCPD esters from 2.9 mg/kg in the conventional refining process to 0.4 mg/kg, with color and oil stability index values of 2.4 R and 14.3 h, respectively.
The presence of glyceryl esters (GE) and 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol esters (3-MCPDE) in refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) palm oil is severely concerning to the palm oil consumer. In the present study, the influence of the phosphoric acid degumming process on the formation of GE and 3-MCDE and in the RBD palm oil was determined with varying the acid dose (0.03-0.06 wt%), temperature (70-100 °C), and reaction time (15-45 min). The experimental conditions of the acid degumming process were designed following the central composite design of experiments, and they were optimized using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) based on the minimal formation of GE and 3-MCDE in the RBD palm oil. The optimal experimental conditions of the acid degumming process were a reaction time of 30 min, phosphoric acid concentration of 0.06 wt%, and temperature of 90 °C. Under these experimental conditions, the minimal GE and 3-MCDE formation in RBD palm oil were determined to be 0.61 mg/kg and 0.59 mg/kg; respectively. Several analytical methods were employed to determine RBD palm oil quality, including color, phosphorus, free fatty acids (FFAs), peroxide values, and fatty acid properties. It was found that the phosphoric acid degumming of CPO effectively removed the phosphorus and hydroperoxide content without conceding the quality of palm oil.