The Process of Extracting Vegetable Oil


The process of extracting vegetable oil from oil seeds is not very complex. Take a look at the steps:
1. The seeds are husked and cleaned of dirt and dust, then crushed.
2. Before the oil extraction process, the crushed seeds should be heated to temperatures between 110 degrees and 180 degrees.
3. The seeds are put into a high volume press which uses high heat and friction to press the oil from the seed pulp.
4. The seed pulp and oil are then put through a hexane solvent bath and steamed again to squeeze out more oil.
Note: Hexane is produced by the refining of crude oil. It is a mild anesthetic. Inhalation of high concentrations produces first a state of mild euphoria, followed by sleepiness with headaches and nausea. Chronic intoxication from hexane has been observed in recreational solvent abusers and in workers in the shoe manufacturing, furniture restoration and automobile construction industries where hexane is used as glue. The initial symptoms are tingling and cramps in the arms and legs, followed by general muscular weakness. In severe cases, atrophy of the skeletal muscles is observed, along with a loss of coordination and problems of vision. In 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations on the control of emissions of hexane gas due to its potential carcinogenic properties and environmental concerns.
5. In a centrifuge, the mixture of seed and oil is added phosphate to separate the oil and seed residues.
6. After solvent extraction, the crude oil is separated and the solvent is evaporated, recycled and recovered. The seed pulp residues are conditioned and reprocessed to make the by-products such as animal feed.
7. The last process is refining. The further refining techniques are composed of degumming, neutralization and bleaching.
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