Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 27  December 2015 p.  425-432


Author(s): SITI AFIDA, I*; RAZMAH, G*; YEONG, S K* and HAZIMAH, A H*

In the European countries, around 600 000 t of lubricants are released into the environment through normal use such as chain saw oils, railway point’s greases and two-stroke engine oils every year. The toxicity and biodegradability of lubricants are a crucial aspect in managing the sustainability of environmental. This article is intended to evaluate the biodegradability of palm-based lubricants in order to establish their environmental-friendliness. The respirometric method was used to monitor the biodegradation of lubricant samples over 28 days as described in the OECD 301F Test Method. The results showed that palm-based lubricants; mould oil, BO-20 and BO-18, readily biodegraded in aquatic environment with the biodegradability of mould oil reached 62.7% within 23 days, BO-20 reached 62.8% within 11 days and BO-18 reached 63% within 14 days which surpassed the 60% pass level within the test period. Meanwhile, the petroleum-based lubricants, mineral oil and motor oil, were not readily biodegraded when tested according to standard method OECD 301F as their biodegradability did not surpass the 60% pass level within the 28 days test period. The viscosity of a lubricant may also be used as an indicator in predicting the biodegradability of that lubricant. The petroleum-based white oil for example, has a low viscosity and it is readily biodegradable. The petroleum-based lubricant which is not readily biodegradable may cause problems when it comes to loss lubricants, accidental spillage and disposal. The use of palmbased lubricants are more environmental-friendly and are one of the alternatives to reduce adverse effects of lubricants on ecosystem.

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Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail:

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