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How Can Moisture Analyzers Help Determine the Purity of Coconut Oil?

With the increased popularity of Coconut Oil especially in food and skin care products we thought it might be helpful to write a blog about how you can use a moisture balance to test the purity of coconut oil.

Some Background

Coconuts grow on a coconut palm which is a slender tree that can grow up to 25 meters tall. Typical places where coconut trees are found are in warmer climates like South and Central America, Africa, Asia, Australia and some southernmost parts of the united states. It's known as the "tree of life" in tropical regions where inhabitants consider the coconut part of there daily diet and believe that it has healing and medicinal properties. Coconut oil contains lauric, caprylic and capric acids, which are excellent antioxidant, disinfectant, antibacterial, antifungal, antimycotic and soothing agents.

Coconut Oil in Food

Because of its lower costs and sustainable growth, coconut oil is often a key ingredient in food production processes, used in recipes as an alternative to many fats. It contains fewer calories than butter, and is also vegan friendly. Coconut oil is also safe for consumption by diabetics, as it can help regulate blood sugars.

Coconut Oil Extract

The coconut oil extract has been used for health and beauty, as it contains high levels of antioxidants, has been used to boost immunity and treat viral, fungal and bacterial infections. There are reports that coconut oil can also help boost the human metabolic rate leading to losing weight and lower cholesterol levels. One study even shows that coconut oil may reduce sugar and alcohol cravings.

Different Types of Coconut Oil

There are two mainstream types of coconut oil, the process of extraction is what determines the grade of the oil:
    1. Ordinary coconut oil -  This is produced by using any process to remove it from fresh coconut milk. This often leads to a less pure version of oil with the possibility of other contaminants being present.

  1. Virgin coconut oil - To produce virgin coconut oil, no heat or sunlight can be used at any point in the extraction process as that will result in loss of purity. In some cases, virgin coconut oil is extracted by micro-expelling, using a cold compression of fresh dried coconut meat. The resulting mixture contains oil and water, this is then separated using a centrifuge, refrigeration or fermentation, or by adding enzymes and waiting for the reaction.

Coconut oil that isn’t destined for a “virgin” classification can be boiled to evaporate the moisture.

Why the Adam Equipment PMB is Beneficial to Producing Coconut Oil

With any fruit, the combination of water and juice/oil can vary. This can affect taste and quality. A moisture balance like the Adam Equipment PMB can measure the moisture content of the batch to maintain consistency from one batch to another. For a production facility, the importance of consistency with raw ingredients will mean that the final product will be the same from one batch to another. Suppliers of coconut oil can also water down the purity of the oil by adding other materials like water, this can result in quality degradation and higher costs to production facilities. Adam Equipment PMB Moisture analyzers can be used to quickly verify the moisture levels of the raw oil supplies.

The PMB moisture analyzer can analyze the moisture content for a coconut oil sample in less than 5 minutes. Place the specimen on a disposable pan inside the heating chamber and start the program, heat will be applied to the sample with the PMB’s energy-efficient halogen lamp. The lamp evaporates moisture and the balance calculates the amount of moisture weight loss to get the moisture content. This circular halogen lamp heater allows for even heating and drying of the sample to make sure the test results are accurate. Saving and recording these tests for several batches will allow a production facility to monitor and control the amount of moisture contained in each batch of oil. Make sure to test and record multiple trials with different samples drawing any conclusions from the results.

The PMB moisture analyzer can store set-up information, which saves having to re-enter it for each analysis. Recording and transmitting results are achieved with a standard USB and RS-232 interface, which provides a connection with a computer, printers, or a flash drive. The vivid backlit display shows all of the data in one place, simplifying operation and a pan lifter allows the tested samples to be removed easily. Learn more about Adam Equipment PMB here.

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