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Palm oil

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noun, plural: palm oils

A vegetable oil, mainly derived from the pulp of the fruit of the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), and used in the production of soap, ointments, and liniments


The palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that is derived chiefly from Elaeis guineensis or the African oil palm. The oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and the kernel of the plant. Another source but to a lesser extent is Elaeis oleifera and Attalea maripa.

The palm oil is different from the palm kernel oil, which is extracted as well from the African oil palm. However, the latter is derived from the kernel of the plant. The palm oil is also different from the oil extracted from the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera. One way of identifying palm oil from the palm kernel oil and the coconut oil is through the saturated fat content. The saturated fat content in palm oil is 49%. Palm kernel oil has much higher saturated fat content, i.e. 81%. The coconut oil also has more saturated fats (i.e. 86%). The palm oil from the pulp of the African oil palm is reddish in color due to its high beta-carotene content. Nevertheless, the crude palm oil undergoes processes that remove the carotenoids and thereby no longer appears reddish in the market.

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