Canadian Scientists Develop Eco-Friendly Replacement for Palm Oil

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Two Canadian food scientists have created a replacement for palm oil, reports the Good News Network. Their invention replicates how the body creates triglycerides and can hold liquid vegetable fats in a solid form at room temperature, the key advantage of palm oil.  The researchers’ oil could be used as a replacement for the problematic palm product in a variety of pre-prepared foods like peanut butters, cookies, and pizza crust, as well as in cosmetics and even toothpaste.

For Alejandro Marangoni, a food scientist at the University of Guelph, the challenge was how to create an oil that would stay solid at room temperature, and one that preferably didn’t contain as much saturated fat content as something like coconut oil. Marangoni used a process he called enzymatic glycerolysis, inspired by the way the body naturally produces triglycerides. He combined enzymes with glycerin to produce solid vegetable oil without adding any additional saturated fats. 

The process would allow food manufacturers to avoid the destructive oil palm plantations, while still being able to keep prices low, since Marangoni’s process could utilize most vegetable oils such as cottonseed, or peanut oil, which also happen to contain fewer saturated fats, leading to less of a public health burden.

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