Free fatty acid (FFA) detection utilizing enzyme based esterification in crude palm oil (CPO) via optical sensor method

Detection of free fatty acid (FFA) in palm oil is crucial since it determines the quality and prices of the palm oil. The current technique for detection of FFA in palm oil is laborious, uses high amount of solvents and requires long operation time. Due to the environmental concerns nowadays, we have developed a method which able to surpass the traditional titration technique in terms of solvent usage, environmentally friendly and it can be operated in automated way. We carried out the experiment via enzymatic route, whereby the FFA is esterified into one of its ester derivatives before the detection is performed using optical sensor method. We found out that it is possible to reduce the solvent usage from 50mL to 5mL during the whole operation process. The utilization of immobilized enzyme is favourable whereby the esterification reaction is able to be conducted in extreme reaction condition in order to obtain rapid detection system.The study shows a good agreement between traditional and developed methods with R2 value of 0.9852.

Figure 1:
(a) Absorbance spectra for esterification of FFA at 60 minutes of reaction and complex FHA-V compound, and
(b) correlation of FFA concentration between standard titration method and developed method using Thermomyces lanuginose lipase.

Prepared by: Nur Hidayah Azeman (GS32185)