Separation of Saturated and Unsaturated Fatty Acids of Palm Fatty Acid Distilled via Low-temperature Methanol Crystallization
This study aimed to optimize conditions for the separation process of unsaturated fatty acid (USFA) and saturated fatty acid (SFA) from palm fatty acid distilled by using low-temperature methanol solvent crystallization method. Several parameters were optimized to improve the solvent crystallization. The fatty acid composition analysis was carried out using a gas chromatography-flame ionization detector as fatty acid methyl esters. The results showed that a high percentage of SFA was found to be more than 95% with the percentage yield of 52%, and USFA was more than 93% with the percentage yield of 48%. This observation was found under the optimal conditions of which fatty acids-to-methanol ratio of 1: 15 (w/v), the crystallization temperature of -15 °C, and the crystallization time of 24 hours, respectively. The composition of separated SFA in the solid fraction contained 80% of palmitic acid (C16:0) as a dominant component, 12.5% of stearic acid (C18:0) and 2.5% of myristic acid (C14:0). The composition of separated USFA in the liquid fraction contained 70.4% of oleic acid (C18:1) as a principal component and 22.6% of linoleic acid (C18:2). The results showed that utilizing methanol as a crystallization solvent was recommended owing to its high efficiency, low cost, stability, availability, the comparative ease of recovery and its ability to form needle-like crystals which had good filtering and washing characteristics.