2.0. The degumming process of oils and lecithin extraction
Lecithin is obtained in the process of degumming crude soy oil. It is usually obtained atthe refinery of the company that making commercial lecithin rather than at the oil mill.Crude soy oil contains hydratable compounds, primarily lecithin phosphatides.Roughly warm water is added to the crude soy oil at about 70*C, in a batch or continuousprocess.The emulsion is then agitated or stirred for 10-60 minutes as the phosphatides hydrate andagglomerate, forming a heavy oil-insoluble sludge, which is separated from the oil by useof a centrifuge.The sludge coming from the degumming centrifuge, a lecithin and water emulsioncontaining 25-50% water, may then be bleached once or twice, with hydrogen peroxide, toreduce its color from brown or beige to light yellow.Fluidizing additives such as soy oil, fatty acids, or calcium chloride can then be added toreduce the viscosity to that of honey and prevent the end product, on cooling, from being ahighly plastic solid.Finally the product is film or batch dried to reduce the moisture. The finished commercialproduct is called "unrefined lecithin" or "natural lecithin;" which contains 65-70%phosphatides and 30-35% crude soy oil.(whether bleach or not)The oil in unrefined lecithin can be removed by extraction with acetone to give a drygranular product called "refined lecithin."