Vegetable oils have a very complex composition. It includes phosphatides (gums), among other things — a group of natural esters, similar to fats, but having a slightly different structure. They have a soft consistency and are poorly soluble in water. Phosphatides are widespread in nature.
Phosphatides are of great nutritional value because they are involved in the biological oxidation of fats in the body. Phosphatides are highly soluble in oils. However, these solutions are unstable. So, if even a small amount of water gets into the oil, a voluminous precipitate forms. Such a precipitate spoils the presentation of the oil and makes it difficult to carry out certain technological operations. Also, under the influence of oxygen from the air, the formation of dark-colored compounds occurs, which impair the quality of the oils.
For these reasons, phosphatides are separated from crude oils intended for further industrial processing. This leads to some decrease in the biological value of the oil. But it is stored longer, without losing quality and appearance. In addition, this processing makes the vegetable oil transparent.
Thus, phosphatides are a byproduct of the production of vegetable oils. And this product is not wasted. Phosphatides are then used for a variety of purposes. For example, in the agricultural industry as fertilizer. They are readily acquired in the countries of the MENA region, in which there is a shortage of fertile land. Phosphatides are also used in the food industry, pharmacology and as nutritional supplements to animal feed.
A procedure called hydration (water degumming) is used to extract phosphatides from vegetable oils. The essence of the hydration is the processing of unrefined vegetable oils with water or water vapor. At the same time, the phospholipids in the oils attach water (hydrate) and are released in the form of a precipitate, which is called a phosphatide emulsion. After drying the phosphatide emulsion in a vacuum, a phosphatide concentrate is obtained. The practical yield of phosphatide concentrate from sunflower oil is approximately 1%.
The list of our equipment also includes drying phosphatide line, designed for the hydration process. You can learn more about it in the detailed description of this equipment on this page.