The oil palm is one of the richest sources of fat-soluble antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols. While much attention has been focussed on these fat-soluble components, little emphasis has been given to the water-soluble components, most of which are discarded during the extraction of palm oil. In 2008, the Malaysian palm oil industry generated about 42 million tonnes of palm oil mill effluent (POME), a liquid by-product. POME, which is mainly derived from the sterilizer condensate and centrifugal desludging of the raw palm oil from the screw-presses, is currently considered an industrial waste and it requires extensive treatment before discharge. Otherwise, it can pose a potential environmental hazard. Malaysia enforces stringent regulatory environmental standards, the challenge of converting such agricultural waste to high value products has remained elusive until now.
Keywords: MPOB PUBLICATIONS, POME, OIL PALM BIOMASS, ANTIOXIDANTS