Saving the world with Christmas cookies?

Despite all warnings, people continue to ruthlessly exploit land resources around the world, planting monocultures and setting up large-scale infrastructure. Social ecologist Anke Schaffartzik analyses the political and economic ...

More diversity needed in oil palm plantations

The growing global demand for palm oil has led to a rapid spread of oil palm monoculture plantations in South East Asia. This is often associated with the loss of natural habitat and biodiversity. Oil palm monocultures are ...

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Palm oil

Palm oil is an edible plant oil derived from the fruit and kernels (seeds) of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis. Palm oil is naturally reddish because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene (though boiling it destroys the carotenoids and renders the oil colourless). Palm oil is one of the few vegetable oils relatively high in saturated fats (like coconut oil) and thus semi-solid at room temperature.

The oil is widely used as a cooking oil, as an ingredient in margarine, and is a component of many processed foods. It is also an important component of many soaps, washing powders and personal care products, is used to treat wounds, and also controversially as a feedstock for biofuel.

Palm oil was previously the second-most widely produced edible oil, after soybean oil,[citation needed]. However, in the 2004-2005 marketing year, 33.5 million metric tonnes were produced worldwide, compared to 32.6 million metric tonnes of soybean oil.

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