Lab Scale Degumming and Refining

At our laboratory in Vernon Hills, Illinois we can simulate various commercial fat and oil refining processes. Two processes that are commonly performed in our laboratory are degumming and refining. Degumming is the process of removing phosphatides (gums) from crude fats and oils. 

There are many different degumming processes, including:

  • Water Degumming
  • Acid Degumming
  • Dry Degumming
  • Super Degumming
  • Total Degumming
  • Enzymatic Degumming

In a chemical refining process, caustic (typically sodium hydroxide) is added at the end of the degumming process to neutralize free fatty acids. In a physical refining process, no caustic is added. Instead, free fatty acids are removed during deodorization.

For more information on degumming and refining processes, check out the AOCS lipid library. 

To perform Acid Degumming and Chemical Refining on a laboratory scale, you will need:

  • Glass Beaker
  • Stir-Bar
  • Electric heating/stirring plate with thermocouple.
  • Centrifuge and centrifuge cups
  • Oil Feedstock, water, phosphoric acid (or citric acid), sodium hydroxide

The video below demonstrates how to perform laboratory scale acid degumming and chemical refining.

After degumming and chemically refining, the oil can be analyzed for trace elements by ICP-OES. The table below displays the reduction in trace elements by the acid degumming procedure shown in the video.

Soybean Oil SampleCa (ppm)Fe (ppm)K (ppm)Mg (ppm)P (ppm)
Acid Degummed1.290.043.921.0511.7
Chemically Refined1.510.055.121.3115.6

Feel free to contact us for more information. We are open to performing degumming and other oil processing on samples from current and prospective customers.