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Lecithin – A Useful Byproduct of Edible Oil Extraction

Lecithin – A Useful Byproduct of Edible Oil Extraction



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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: adda on May 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A Useful Byproduct of Edible Oil ExtractionContent Page1.0. Introduction
Phospholipids in lecithin
2.0.The degumming process of oils and lecithin extraction3.0. Processing of Commercial Lecithin4.0. Uses
and functions of lecithin in food, pharmaceutical and otherindustries5.0. Conclusion6.0. Appendix
7.0. References
The story of lecithin began in 1845 with an innovation by the French chemist Theodore Gobley.He isolated an orange-coloured substance from egg-yolk, which had unique emulsifyingproperties. He called this lecithin. This egg lecithin, however, was far too expensive forindustrial applications and was not available in sufficient quantities.Lecithin is the commercial name for a naturally occurring mixture of which varies in color fromlight tan to dark reddish brown and formed from a fluid to a plastic solid. Lecithin is the gummymaterial contained in crude vegetable oils and removed by degumming. Soybeans are by far themost important source of commercial lecithin and lecithin is the most important by-product of the soy oil processing industry because of its many applications in foods and industrial products.Soybean lecithin is a complex mixture of phospholipids, glycolipids, triglycerides, sterols andsmall quantities of fatty acids, carbohydrates and sphingolipids.The primary phospholipid components of lecithin are:
Phosphatidylcholine (PC)
Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE)
Phosphotidylinositol (PI)
Phosphatidic acid (PA) Structure of phosphatidylcholine
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."

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