Author: I Wayan Rai Widarta, Nuri Andarwulan, Tri Haryati
Deacidification is one of the steps of palm oil refining process which is carried out using alkali solution such as NaOH (sodium hydroxide). Carotenoids in palm oil is affected by the process of deacidification that has to be controlled to minimize the destruction of carotenoids during processing. The objective of this research was to improve deacidification process in pilot plant scale so that the process can produce low level free fatty acids (FFA) and higher carotene recovery in high yield neutralized red palm oil (NRPO). Characterization of physical and chemical properties of crude palm oil (CPO) such as moisture content, FFA, carotene content, saponification number, iodine value, peroxide value, and color were determined before processing. Excess NaOH was found in the trial of deacidification in the pilot plant scale and it gave 17.5% excess NaOH. The degumming was done before deacidification process. The optimization of temperature and time for deacidification process were using central composite design (CCD). Response surface method (RSM) was used to observe the influence of treatments on reduction of FFA, carotene recovery, and yield of NRPO. The result showed that the optimum condition of deacidification process was at 61 ± 2°C in 26 minutes, and strength of NaOH 16°Be with 17.5% excess of NaOH. In this optimum condition, the process could achieve reduction level of free fatty acid was about 96.35%, recovery of carotene was 87.30%, and yield was 90.16%.