Palm Oil Developments No.66 (June 2017) p18-27

Red Palm Oil: A Natural Source of Vitamin A

Radhika Loganathan* and Teng Kim Tiu*

The fruit of the oil palm (Elaeis guineesis) yields the oil called red palm oil (RPO). Oil palm is a perennial crop which produces the highest oil yield per hectare per year compared with other leading oilseed crops (Mielke, 2014). Currently, Malaysia and Indonesia are the leading producers of palm oil (Burri, 2012). The oil palm is a unique crop in being able to produce two types of oils, namely crude palm oil from the fibrous mesocarp (which is the brilliant deep red-orange pulp) and palm kernel oil (resembling coconut oil) from the kernel (Sundram et al., 2003). Crude palm oil (CPO) can be processed into various downstream products, and this processing partially removes the phytonutrients. Refined, bleached and deodorised  RBD) palm oil, the major processed product, is obtained by bleaching and deodorisation of CPO. During this refining process, the carotenoids which give CPO its red-orange colour, are decomposed, resulting in RBD palm oil having a light yellow colour, while part of the other phytonutrients are still retained in the RBD palm oil (Nagendran et al., 2000).

Author information:
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB),
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.