What are the different degumming processes for edible oil?

Worldwide the use of cholesterol-free edible oil to be healthy has been increasing for the past few years.  The deadly coronavirus increased awareness to the next level for many people buying cooking oils with trans fats or triglycerides.  And it is the degumming process for edible oil makes it free of such fats and others called gums.  It is one of the first and foremost refining processes that starts with heating the crude oil. The degumming of vegetable oil removes all of its phosphatides to make it suitable for long shelf life and with essential nutrients. Many degumming processes are done in suitable systems made by reputed manufacturers to purify edible oil. 

This article discusses the degumming process for edible oil and its many types to improve its physical stability and to last long to be useful for cooking and other purposes. 

What is the degumming of vegetable oil?

Vegetable oil use is increasing worldwide for cooking and other purposes to raise the need for refining crude oil made by screw pressing or solvent extraction methods.  Oil refining has become an important manufacturing process worldwide to remove impurities, including triglycerides or non-triglycerides.  It is because of the increasing awareness of the dangers causing heart attacks and other diseases. Tri-glycerides harden the arteries carrying the blood to increase the risks of heart attacks, stroke, pancreas inflammation, and others. Hence removing phosphatides or gums or lecithin or mucilage and others like carbohydrates, proteins, nitrogen compounds, metals,  chlorides which are precursors to 3-MCPD, and other insoluble impurities is degumming of vegetable oil. 

What is the degumming process for edible oil?

To make vegetable oils tasty and healthy edible oils degumming process is vital to remove many of their impurities. Also, the degumming process of vegetable oil increases its shelf life to transport to long distances for sales and consumption. Degumming hydrates the gums or phosphatides in vegetable oil using solvents like water, acid, enzymes, and others, followed by centrifugation in proper systems. Since it removes the gums or phospholipids and others like proteins, carbohydrates, metal traces, etc., it is called the degumming process for edible oil. 

What is the different degumming process for edible oil?

The vegetable oil refining process has evolved in the last few decades to make it edible without impurities and tasty for cooking and other needs. Hence there are many degumming processes to separate gums from vegetable oil, minimizing oil loss and maximizing its yield. While some processes remove only hydrated fats, others remove both hydrated and non-hydrated fats. A few of the different degumming processes for edible oil include the following, among others.

  • Water degumming is best for removing hydratable gums or low FFA crude oils using mixers and disc stack centrifuges to mix specific water to precipitate and separate the gums, followed by water washing. 
  • Acid degumming removes not only gums but also metal traces using acids like phosphoric acid to use the quantity proportionate to the gums in high FFA crude oils, followed by water washing. 
  • Enzymatic differs from traditional water and acid degumming to remove hydrated and non-hydrated gums and chlorides using heat exchangers and centrifuges to form the downstream refining process. 
  • Special degumming also removes hydratable and nonhydratable gums using a mix of acids and caustic soda or diluted lye at controlled temperatures using self-cleaning centrifuges with other specialized equipment.

Mectech is the reputed manufacturer of all machines and equipment for the degumming process for edible oil to make it free from hydrated and non-hydrated gums and other impurities to increase its stability, shelf life, and taste with minimum oil loss and maximum yield.

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