Category Archives: 2003 Vol 15 No 2

Physiological analysis of an oil palm density trial on a peat soil

A detailed physiological analysis was made of an oil palm density x fertilizer experiment established on a deep peat soil near Teluk Intan, Perak. Data on above-ground vegetative dry matter production, leaf area and leaf area development, flowering, bunch dry matter production and bunch composition were collected from the time of first flowering up to the 17th year after planting. Three planting densities (120, 160 and 200 palms ha-1) were combined with 18 factorial fertilizer treatments. From data on leaf area, vegetative, bunch and total dry matter production, it was possible to derive the efficiency of radiant energy conversion to dry matter and the partitioning of dry matter between vegetative and reproductive biomass as well as between oil and non-oil components of dry matter. The influence of planting density on the extent of biomass turnover was assessed. Optimum densities for bunch yield were calculated as a function of age from single palm yield response to density. The proportions of assimilated carbon used for dry matter production, growth respiration and maintenance respiration were also calculated. Maintenance respiration per unit biomass was seen to decrease as a function of increasing palm age and density. The evaluated dry matter production and gross assimilation were compared with outputs from a simulation model. The results are discussed and compared with those of other studies in the literature.

Structural mechanical and optical properties of recycled paper blended with oil palm empty fruit bunch pulp

The effects of blending oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) pulp with recycled papers on the paper properties were studied. The EFB was pulped by the soda-anthraquinone process. Laboratory papers were made by blending the unbleached EFB pulp with old carton board (OCB), copier paper (OCP) and newspaper (ONP) at rations of 25%, 50% and 75%. The structural, mechnical and optical properties of these papers were measured and compared to unblended recycled papers. The papers properties were considered affected by incorporation of the EFB pulp. The changes on the properties varied, depending on the particular, property, level of pulp incorporation and the type of recycled paper used. ONP has the highest degree of change and OCB has the lowest degree of change. OCB, OCP and ONP have the highest tensile index when incorporated 25%, 75% and 75% of EFB pulp respectively. OCB, OCP and ONP have the highest burst index when incorporated 75% of EFB pulp. OCB, OCP and ONP have the highest tear index when incorporated 25%, 75% and 25% of EFB pulp respectively. OCB, OCP and ONP have the highest folding endurance when incorporated 75% of EFB respectively. The best blend for OCB is 23% of EFB pulp and for OCP and ONP is 75% of EFB pulp. The EFB soda-AQ pulp can be used to enhance the structural and mechanical properties of recycled paper

Development of optimum synthesis method for transesterification of palm oil methylolpropane to environmentally acceptable palm oil-based lubricant

Chemical synthesis of palm oil trimethylolpropane esters was conducted via transesterification of palm oil methyl esters (POME) with trimethylolpropane (TMP). The palm oil TMP esters are potential biodegradable base stock for lubricant production.The influence of the main operating variables,namely,temperatures and pressures,molar ratio of palm methyl esters to TMP,and catalyst amount was studied and analysed.The effects of temperature (80ºC to 140ºC)and reduced pressure (0.1, 10, 50, 100 and 500 mbar)were investigated and found to have a significant impact on the reaction.On the contrary,the amount of catalyst (% w/w) and molar ratio of POME to TMP had little influence on the conversion but affected the overall yield of the reaction.The optimal reaction conditions are as follows: duration: 1 hr; temperature:130°C pressure: 20 mbar;catalyst:sodium methoxide at 0.8% w/w; molar ratio of POME:TMP at 3.9:1.Palm oil TMP ester containing 98% w/w triesters was successfully synthesized in less than an hour.

Preparation and characterization of trimethylolpropane esters from palm kernel oil methyl esters

Palm-based polyol esters are potential biodegradable base stocks for environmentally friendly lubricants. The synthesis of palm kernel oil trimethylolpropane (TMP) esters was performed by transesterification of palm kernel methyl esters with TMP using sodium methoxide as a catalyst. Approximately 98% w/w conversion to palm kernel TMP triesters was obtained. Temperature and vacuum pressure were found to be the key parameters because of their effects on the rate and reversibility of the reaction. A reduced pressure of at least 20 mbar was crucial for high product yield at which the optimal operating temperature was 130ºC. The basic lubrication properties of the non-additived palm and palm kernel TMP esters were the following:viscosity at 40ºC in the range of 39.7 to 49.7 cSt, pour point between -1ºC to 1ºC and high viscosity indices in the range of 167-187.Other chemical and lubrication properties compared well with the commercial vegetable oils-based TMP esters

Formation of microemulsions with palm-based oils stabilized by a non-ionic surfactant

There is growing interest to replace petroleum-based ingredients in products with natural-based materials such as palm oil and its derivatives.One of the potential uses of these natural materials is in microemulsion formulations.This paper describes the solubilization and ternary phase behaviour of palm oil and its derivatives with a non-ionic surfactant – coco alcohol (C12-14) ethoxylate with 6.9 moles of ethylene oxides (6.9EO) (also called Imbentin coco 6.9EO).

The capacity of solubilization by Imbentin coco 6.9EO for palm oil methyl esters (POME) ≈ tetradecane > palm kernel oil-medium chain triglycerides (PKO-MCT) and palm olein. The phase inversion temperatures (PIT) for POME, PKO-MCT and palm olein were 59°C, 70°C and 71°C at 2:1, 1:1 and 0.5:1 ratios of oil to surfactant. The PIT for tetradecane, a petroleum-based oil, was 56°C at 1:1 oil to surfactant ratio, but ~73°C at a 2:1 ratio.

The capacities for solubilization and formation of a larger microemulsion region with POME were higher than those with PKO-MCT and palm olein in Imbentin coco 6.9EO systems.The maximum solubilities of POME and PKO-MCT were 2:1 and 1:1 oil to surfactant, both at 60°C, and palm olein 0.5:1 oil to surfactant at 70°C. We indicate that the POME molecules penetrate the liquid crystalline (LC) phase into the palisade layer.They then expand the LC (Lα) region and move to the water-rich axis.However,the micellar solution and/or O/W microemulsion can exist at up to 45% (w/w) surfactant at the lower concentrations of PKO-MCT and palm olein in the ternary systems

Development of a transient promoter assay system for oil palm

Optimization of the physical parameters was carried out to produce transient β-glucuronidase (GUS) and green fluorescence protein (GFP) activities in oil palm tissues (leaf, mesocarp and root) for promoter analysis.

The optimum conditions for DNA delivery into mesocarp slices and root tissue were 1550 psi helium pressure, 9 cm distance from macrocarrier to the sample and using 1 µm gold particles as microcarrier to penetrate the tissue. For leaf explants, a lower pressure of 1350 psi sufficed with the same size gold particles and distance. The specificity of the Type 3 mettallothionein-like gene (MT3-B) promoter was determined using GUS as the reporter gene with the removal of the existing Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) 35S promoter to form a pBI-4C vector. The original pB1221 plasmid containing the CaMV 35S promoter was used as a control. In our study, expression of the MT3-B promoter was only observed in the root tissue at a low level but not in the other tissues (mesocarp and leaf). In contrast, with the constitutive promoter (CaMV 35S), expression was observed in all the tissues tested. These correlated with the expression profile obtained for the MT3-B gene using northern blot analysis.

Recovery of glycerol and diglycerol from glycerol pitch

Glycerol pitch is one of the wastes generated by the Malaysian oleochemicals industry. A recovery technique which involved an acid-based extraction was developed in which the pitch was separated into three components – crude glycerol containing diglycerol, fatty acids and inorganic salts. The crude glycerol was subjected to vacuum distillation to produce pure glycerol, leaving behind an undistilled fraction rich in diglycerol. Several analyses, such as glycerol content, ash content, moisture content and acidity, and Fourier transform infra red (FTIR) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were employed to determine the purity and the compositions of glycerol pitch and the products thus isolated from the waste. The analyses showed that the glycerol pitch comprised 55%-65% glycerol, 15%-25% diglycerol, and less than 10% each of fatty acids and inorganic salts. The method developed is simple and suitable for the recovery of glycerol and diglycerol in the waste.