Deforestation-free and carbon-negative alternatives for palm oil

A team of scientists from EPFL and Switzerland's WSL research institute has studied the conversion of savannas into oil palm plantations as a deforestation-free way of growing these plantations. What's more, if improved management ...

New sensing technologies to study elusive flying bats

How can we understand the activity of wild bats? Mostly soundless, flying in the dark, bats feed at night and evade our senses. Many bats can use echolocation to hunt and can avoid the traditional nets used to capture them; ...

India's oil palm goals raise fears of deforestation

India's newly announced plan to move from being the world's biggest importer of palm oil to that of major producer of the crop may be at the cost of large-scale deforestation of ecologically sensitive areas.

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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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