Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. Special Issue  1999 Oct p.  24-33

Biochemical factors that control oil composition in the oil palm


Fatty acid biosynthesis is essentially the same in all plant species. Yet, different plants have unique fatty acid profiles which differentiate one vegetable oil from another. The oil palm produces different oils in the mesocarp and kernel. These two oils have distinct fatty acid profiles. Palm oil is rich in palmitic and oleic acids while palm kernel oil is a rich source of lauric and myristic, i.e. medium chain fatty acids. The role of different biochemical factors in controlling fatty acid composition in the oil palm was investigated. The studies confirmed that fatty acid composition was not controlled by a single enzyme. Instead, a number of enzymnes work in concert to produce the distinct fatty acid composition of palm and palm kernel oil. Beta ketoacyl ACP synthase 11, acyl ACP thioesterases and acyltransferases have an important role in determining the fatty acid profiles of palm and palm kernel oil.

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Author Information
* Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia, P.O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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