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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 646343, 5 pages
Research Article

Deacidification of Soybean Oil Combining Solvent Extraction and Membrane Technology

1Departamento de Tecnología Química-UNRC-CONICET-FONCyT, Ruta Nac. 36 Km 601, 5800 Río Cuarto, Argentina
2Facultad de Ingeniería, (UNRC-CONICET), Ruta Nacional No. 36 Km 601, 5800 Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina

Received 13 June 2013; Accepted 12 October 2013

Academic Editor: Tao Zhang

Copyright © 2013 M. L. Fornasero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this work was to study the removal of free fatty acids (FFAs) from soybean oil, combining solvent extraction (liquid-liquid) for the separation of FFAs from the oil and membrane technology to recover the solvent through nanofiltration (NF). Degummed soybean oil containing 1.05 ± 0.10% w/w FFAs was deacidified by extraction with ethanol. Results obtained in the experiences of FFAs extraction from oil show that the optimal operating conditions are the following: 1.8 : 1 w : w ethanol/oil ratio, 30 minutes extraction time and high speed of agitation and 30 minutes repose time after extraction at ambient temperature. As a result of these operations two phases are obtained: deacidified oil phase and ethanol phase (containing the FFAs). The oil from the first extraction is subjected to a second extraction under the same conditions, reducing the FFA concentration in oil to 0.09%. Solvent recovery from the ethanol phase is performed using nanofiltration technology with a commercially available polymeric NF membrane (NF-99-HF, Alfa Laval). From the analysis of the results we can conclude that the optimal operating conditions are pressure of 20 bar and temperature of 35°C, allowing better separation performance: permeate flux of 28.3 L/m2·h and FFA retention of 70%.