Possibilities of a removal of 3-chloro-1,2-propanediol fatty acid esters (3-MCPD esters) and related substances from palm oil were investigated using different adsorption materials. Some of them are already applied for the improvement of frying oils with respect to reducing polar components. For this purpose nine different commercially available inorganic adsorbent materials were chosen and screened with respect to their ability to reduce the contents of 3-MCPD esters and related substances in a refined palm oil. Two of the materials, a calcinated zeolite and a synthetic magnesium silicate, were found to be able to reduce the contents of these substances in a range of up to 40%. Further investigations revealed that the ‘related substances’ which had been identified mainly as glycidyl esters, were removed but not the 3-MCPD esters. Especially the zeolite was able to lower the concentration of these substances relatively fast in a broad range of treatment temperatures. No adverse effects were detected for this material with respect to sensory properties and oxidative stability of the palm oil after the treatment.
Practical applications: The successful removal of the health relevant 3-MCPD esters and related substances may open additional possibilities for the manufacturing of palm oils containing these substances, for example for infant foods. The advantage of such an approach is that these procedures may be easily implemented in a short time frame. In contrast, influencing of precursor contents and formation pathways, like changes in culture and harvesting of palm fruits or modifications of refining processes, requires more fundamental research and may have several impacts on the manufacturing procedures.