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Coconut oil extraction: Intermediate moisture content method

SUMMARY:

Coconut oil (also known as coconut butter) is extracted from coconuts and consists of over 80% saturated
fat. It is typically used in cosmetics as well as in baking and cooking. Traditional aqueous coconut
processing involves grating coconut into small pieces, adding water, squeezing the mixture by hand, leaving
the resulting emulsion to stand, and then scooping off the oil-rich cream. The cream is then boiled to
produce oil. The intermediate-moisture content aims to speed up the process by introducing a bridge-press to
extract oil directly from partially-dried coconut gratings.

KEYWORDS:
Coconut cadang cadang [1]
processing [2]
grating [3]
oil cakes [4]
CATEGORY:
Capacity development [5]
Post-harvest and marketing [6]
COUNTRIES:
Ghana
Cte d'Ivoire
Sri Lanka
Tanzania
DESCRIPTION:

Introduction
Coconut oil (also known as coconut butter) is extracted from coconuts and consists of over 80% saturated fat. It is typically used in cosmetics as
well as in baking and cooking. Traditional aqueous coconut processing involves grating coconut into small pieces, adding water, squeezing the
mixture by hand, leaving the resulting emulsion to stand, and then scooping off the oil-rich cream. The cream is then boiled to produce oil.

The intermediate-moisture content aims to speed up the process by introducing a bridge-press to extract oil directly from partially-dried coconut
gratings.

Intermediate moisture content extraction method


Experimental programmes were undertaken by collaborators in Tanzania, Cte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Sri Lanka and confirmed the basic concept
that at 12% moisture content, between 60% and 70% of the available oil can be extracted from coconut kernel using an inexpensive manual low
pressure system. Mixing fresh and dried gratings appeared to give the most reliable outcome of attaining the required moisture content of coconut
gratings.

The drying of gratings in a field situation has posed problems for many collaborators (disturbance by livestock, birds and wind). To overcome
this, solar dryers have been examined in Cte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and drying by frying in Ghana and Tanzania. The yields of oil produced by a
simple manual bridge press during field trials carried out with Women's Groups in rural areas have consistently given between 4 and 5 litres per
10 kg of kernel, which represents an oil extraction efficiency of over 60%.
The oil produced is distinct from that from the traditional aqueous process and comments on its superior colour and flavour have been common,
but only in Ghana and Sri Lanka does this appear to be reflected in a higher market price. Financial appraisals of the method have produced a
range of outcomes depending on the assumptions, but ventures were found to be viable under certain circumstances in all collaborating countries.
The advantages of the method, when compared with the traditional aqueous process, have been recognised by all collaborators and participants:

no water or firewood are needed for the process


oil extraction can be completed in one day
the oil yield is comparable or higher and oil quality is generally superior.

Disadvantages of the method as a practical procedure include:

the difficulties of drying the gratings in the field


the capital cost of the press.

Financial appraisals of the method have produced a range of outcomes depending on the assumptions, but ventures were found to be viable under
certain circumstances in all collaborating countries.

Dissemination
As a result of the research carried out on the five processes outlined above, numerous reports were produced on both research and development
activities as well as field trials of processing methods. NRI and the APCC organised an international workshop held in Indonesia to disseminate
research outputs and provide a forum for developing strategies for technology transfer of appropriate processing methods both within and
between collaborating countries as well as to other coconut producing countries. Separate country seminars and workshops were held in
Tanzania, Ghana, Cte d'Ivoire, India and Sri Lanka.

These workshops resulted in collaborators producing project concepts that may result in the commercialisation of suitable technologies within
countries or enable transfer of a technology to another country. Processing manuals have been produced on each of the processes. These outputs
provide guidance each of the coconut processing methods researched.

The documents are aimed at organisations active in carrying out coconut processing development projects and are intended to provide sufficient
detail to decide whether a process is likely to have potential in a particular environment.

For further information on the intermediare moisture content method, seeTILLEKERATNE and RANASINGHE[7] (1997).

The table below compares the intermediate moisture content method and two alternative methods for coconut oil extraction developed by the
same team: the aqueous processing method and use of the ram press.

Table: Comparison of processing methods to extract coconut oil:Click here[8] to view the table.

References and further reading


Note: DFID Project 6087, co-funded with the Common Fund for Commodities (Project FIGOOF/01) and the Institute for Research and
Development of Agro-Based Industry in Bogor, produced 108 reports during 1997 and 1998. Copies may be obtained by contacting the CFC.
Website:http://www.common-fund.org/om[9]. Postal address: P.O. Box 74656, 1070BR Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Of these, the following may be of particular interest:

SWETMAN, A. [10] (1998) Improving the Small-Scale Extraction of Coconut Oil. Final Technical Report for project co-funded by DFID Crop
Post Harvest Programme, project R6087, and the Common Fund for Commodities, project FIGOOF/01. CFC Report No. 111. Natural Resources
Institute.

TILLEKERATNE, H.A. and RANASINGHE, A.T. [7] (1997) Coconut Oil Production using the Intermediate Moisture Content Method.
Country Manual ? Sri Lanka. Common Fund for Commodities Project Report 100. Coconut Development Authority, Sri Lanka.

DONKOR, P. (1997) Final Technical Report on the Intermediate Moisture Content Method Component (Sub-objective 2.2) in Ghana. Common
Fund for Commodities Report 80. University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

HARRIS, R. (1997) Final technical report on Subobjective 2.2: Development of the Intermediate Moisture Content Method. Common Fund for
Commodities Report 85. Natural Resources Institute.

N'CHO, YP; SANGERE, A. (1997) Final Report on the Intermediate Moisture Content Component (Subobjective 2.2) Common Fund for
Commodities Report 89. IDEFOR/Marc Delomre Station, Cte d'Ivoire.

TEMU, N. (1997) Intermediate Moisture Content Method of Coconut Oil Extraction in Tanzania: A Final Report. Common Fund for
Commodities Report 77. Agricultural Research Institute, Mikocheni, Tanzania.

e-Resources
PUNCHIHEWA, P.G. and ARANCON, R.N. Compendium on Post-harvest Operations. CHAPTER XV COCONUT: Post-harvest Operations.
http://www.fao.org/inpho/content/compend/text/ch15.htm[11]

Books:http://www.apccsec.org/books.php[12]
Proceedings of the CFC Workshop on ?Improving the Small-Scale Extraction of Coconut Oil? held in Bali, Indonesia, 8 to 11th
September 1997. Published by APCC.http://www.apccsec.org/[13]

Health and safety


The researchers, their institutions or this website cannot be held responsible for any damage resulting from the use of the materials or methods
described here. The application or use of treatments, processes and technologies is the sole responsibility of the user.

DFID disclaimer
This technology is an output from the Renewable Natural Resources Research strategy funded by the UK Department for International
Development (DFID), for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID.

Acknowledgements
Technology selected and record compiled from original project documentation by Natural Resources International Ltd, with funding from
DFID's Central Research Department (Communications). Implementing and advising on this process were: Karen Wilkin and Tina Rowland
(joint project leaders), Andy Frost, Vino Graffham, Jody Sunley, Liz McVeigh, RNRRS programme staff, FAO's Research and Technology
Development Service, FAO's LEAD programme, DFID's Central Research Department, Ken Campbell, Graham Farrell (Plant Clinic), Simon
Eden-Green, Peter Golob, John Esser, Liz Betser (360o Responsibility). Validation domain reviewed by the Centre de Coopration Internationale
en Recherche Agronomique pour le Dveloppement (CIRAD), Simon Eden-Green and Peter Golob. Uploading by Random X Solutions Ltd. For
more information, please contact Karen Wilkin, NR International Ltd or Tina Rowland, Random X Solutions Ltd.

FURTHER READING:

TILLEKERATNE, H.A. and RANASINGHE, A.T. (1997) Coconut Oil Production using the Intermediate
Moisture Content Method. Country Manual - Sri Lanka. Common Fund for Commodities Project Report
100. Coconut Development Authority, Sri Lanka.

SOURCE(S):

UK Department For International Development (DFID) [14]

Source URL: http://teca.fao.org/technology/coconut-oil-extraction-intermediate-moisture-content-method

Links:
[1] http://teca.fao.org/keywords/coconut-cadang-cadang
[2] http://teca.fao.org/keywords/processing
[3] http://teca.fao.org/keywords/grating
[4] http://teca.fao.org/keywords/oil-cakes
[5] http://teca.fao.org/technology-categories/capacity-development
[6] http://teca.fao.org/technology-categories/post-harvest-and-marketing
[7] http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/agrotech/2036/manual_Int_moist.pdf
[8] http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/agrotech/2036/extraction_methods.pdf
[9] http://www.common-fund.org/
[10] http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/agrotech/2036/R6087_FTR.pdf
[11] http://www.fao.org/inpho/content/compend/text/ch15.htm
[12] http://www.apccsec.org/books.php
[13] http://www.apccsec.org/
[14] http://teca.fao.org/partner/uk-department-international-development-dfid