CHAPTER fat content. Hence, the idea to



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Elaeis Guineensis or better known as the African oil palm tree is a widely recognise
as tree of fortune. In Malaysia, there are many plantations of the pumpkin and
also the palm oil tree.  

is a typical practice where traditionally when an oil palm tree is old enough and
cannot be harvested anymore, people will chop down the tree and will be left as
waste, which might be a good source as fertilizer yet it is still a waste. Some
folks will eat the heart of palm as a delicacy (Kahele), and I could see an
opportunity to overcome the wastage of the valuable resource. According to a
website, hearts of palm contain high level of
protein, vitamins and essential minerals with low fat content. Hence, the idea
to make substitute flour from heart of palm comes in mind as the heart of palm
is much underutilized.


The demand for flour throughout the world
is rising each year. Furthermore, the quality of the flour made up from pumpkin
and palm oil tree is believed to be higher than wheat flour. With the high
awareness of the people that wheat flour is also being a cause for
cardiovascular problem, obesity, diabetes, diverticular diseases and
gastrointestinal problem because it is low in fibre. Not to mention there also
lots of people whom are gluten intolerant. To overcome this situation,
substitute flour from abundant resource is needed so that the demands for flour
in the market could be sustained.

1.3 AIM

The flour will be manufactured using
heart of palm as the raw ingredient and conventional flour making process is
used as the methods of process. Two analysis will be conducted which are
protein content analysis to determine the protein content, and starch content
analysis to determine the starch analysis of this flour. 


1) To develop a flour from heart of palm
of Elaeis Guineensis as a 
alternative substitute flour with high nutritional value



2.1.1 ELAEIS

Elaeis Guineensis, known as African oil palm or Guinea oil palm is a single-stemmed
palm tree and could be easily spotted in tropical countries. This tree can
reach up to 20 to 30 metres height and its cylindrical stem can grow up to 75
centimetres. Elaeis Guineensis is a
non-branched tree, unlike any other tropical plant. The fronds of the Elaeis Guineensis is usually consists of
40 to 60 green leaves with thorny leave stem that can possibly grow up to 8
metres long. As it was originated in Africa, thus it was named African oil
palm. The habitat of Elaeis Guineensis
is in open forest with moist and sandy soils, and surprisingly this tree could
often be found along the edges of rivers. Usually, this tree is vastly spread
in tropical west and central Africa to Sierra Leone, Uganda and Kenya, Angola,
Mozambique, Bismarck Archipelago and Cameroon, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guinea, Kenya,
Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka and also the Southeast Asia in Malaysia, Indonesia and
throughout other tropics region (Fern, 2014). Elaeis Guineensis was planted for its
oil-rich fruits which are a major source of plant oil on a world scale. The
shoot of Elaeis Guineensis, or the
heart of palm is the inner core part of Elaeis
Guineensis, and it is the growing bud of the tree. The heart of palm is
usually eaten as vegetable. The heart of palm is harvested by cutting down the
palm tree and the bark is removed until the centre core is revealed. A well
harvested heart of palm is white in colour with tender crisp texture (Zeldes, 2010).


Elaeis Guineensis is being commercially planted for its high economical profits. The
bearings commenced from Elaeis Guineensis
have a special characteristic, which enables the fruits and kernels to sustain
oil, widely known as palm oil and palm kernel oil which could be used as
cooking oil, making margarine, vegetable ghee, bakery fats and ice creams. The
production ratio between palm oil and palm kernel oil is 10:1, for every 10
tonnes of palm oil, 1 tonne of palm kernel oil can be harvested. Palm oil is
popular among consumers as it is way cheaper than many other vegetable oils,
plus its 10% linoleic acid content makes palm oil an excellent source of
carotene for consumers. Palm kernel oil has similar composition and properties
as coconut oil, and it is often being mixed with coconut oil for product
development purpose. Nowadays, Malaysia had been one of the world’s largest palm
oil exporters, and is currently held 39% of world palm oil production and 44%
of world exports (Vaile, E., 2016).

Other edible parts of Elaeis Guineensis are the heart-of-palm,
or known as the shoot itself, where people will consumes the soft part of the straight,
acute bud as vegetables. However, consuming the shoot will eventually lead to
the death of the tree. Usually, the shoot is consumed when an oil palm tree had
reached its maximum growth, where it would be difficult for farmers to harvest
the oil palm fruits and the tree will be cut down and replant with a new young
tree. The shoot is claimed to be rich in protein, where a cup of 146g canned
palm shoot or heart of palm contain 4g proteins, 7g total carbohydrates, 0mg
cholesterol, 622mg sodium and 4g of dietary fibre. The pros of the intake of
heart of palm are that this food is an excellent source of protein, Riboflavin,
Potassium, Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc,
Copper and Manganese. The only con is the food contain high amount of Sodium
(Self Nutrition Data, 18 November 2016).

Elaeis Guineensis also has beneficial values in medicinal field. The heart or shoot
can be used to treat gonorrhoea, menorrhagia and perinatal abdominal pain. The
oil palm heart also considered as laxative and has anti-emetic properties and
is diuretic. Anti-emetic means that the shoot can be used to treat vomiting and
nausea. The leaf sap is said to have the ability to cure skin affection. The
extracted oil from its pulp has emollient properties, or has the ability to
soften and soothing especially to the skin and is widely used as ointments
(Office of Dietary Supplement, 18 November 2016).The palm oil obtained could
also be used in developing other products than just being used as cooking oil.
For example, residue from palm oil manufacturing could be used to manufacture soap,
detergents, candles, lubricating greases and in cosmetic products. The palm
kernel oil is used to make high quality soap and grease.


2.2.1 FLOUR

By definition, flour is a fine grinded
powder form of grain which is beyond the stage of meal, which is coarse and any
unwanted matter is eliminated by sifting, soft and silky (Palmatier, 2000). The most popular flour used worldwide
is wheat flour, which is the main ingredient to make breads and pastries. The
word flour is originated from the word “flower” as it is derive from Old French
fluer or flour, means “blossom” or “the finest” since flour is obtained after
the coarse and foreign materials is removed during the milling process (Palmatier, 2000)


As stated before, flour is made from
either wheat or other starchy plants. The flour manufacturing process consists
of grading, purifying, grinding and packaging. In wheat flour manufacturing
process, the wheat will first being inspected and samples of wheat will undergo
physical and chemical analysis. The samples should pass various tests, and the
most important is the test to identify the protein content of the wheat. The
succeeded batch will be kept in silos and will undergo next process.

Purification process is the process where
all foreign materials will be eliminated. The wheat will undergo the
purification process again and again until it passes the standard regulation.
The first purification device used in this process is known as the separator,
where the wheat will passes over a series of metal screens, separating the
wheat and large foreign objects such as rocks and leaves. Next, the wheat will
go through the aspirator, which works by sucking up the lighter foreign
materials and removes it from the wheat. Magnets will be used to remove small
metal, and an electronic sorting machine is used to remove other foreign
objects which cannot be detected by naked eyes.During pre-grinding phase, the
purified wheat will be washed with warm water and it will be spun to dry with
an industrial scale centrifuge. If the is an excessive moisture left in the
wheat, a vacuum dryer will be used to dry all the water. After the wheat is
dried, it will be processed in a machine called Entoleter, which spins disks
rapidly to hurl the grains against a small metal pins. Next, two large metal
rollers known as breaker rolls will crack open the grains, separating the
interior parts of the wheat from the outer bran. The products will be purified
through vibration. Air is blown through the screen to remove the lighter bran
pieces which are mixed together with the middling. Lastly, purified middling
are processed into flour by rolling through a pairs of large and smooth metal
rollers. The flour is graded according to the finest scale through sifting,
separating and regrinding processes again and again.

In order to make the flour to be white in
colour, small amounts of bleaching agents and oxidizing agents will be added to
the flour right after milling process. The products will also be enriched with
vitamins and minerals as required by law, thus enriched flour is produced.



Heart of palm for Elaeis Guineensis is the raw material for the flour processing. The
characteristics for heart of palm for Elaies Guineensis and the caloric ratio
for 146g of serving is summarised in Table 1 below.














Table 1          : Physical
characteristics and nutrition facts for 146g of Heart of palm serving.


Figure 1         : Processing
flow of the Heart of Palm flour




The Elaeis
Guineensis shoot will undergo cleaning and trimming process, where the
outer skin with green in colour will be removed until only the white colour
heart of palm remain. This process is mainly aimed to remove any unwanted
parts, damaged portions and pest. This process will manually do using a sharp



Washing phase would be the most vital
phase during the manufacturing process, as most of unrevoked objects and dirt
are being eliminated. This process should be done multiple times, as there
might be lots of dirt stick at the heart of palm. At least 3 batches of water
is required to wash the bud, first batch is used to pre-wash the shoot, second
batch is to remove residual foreign materials off the shoot and the third
batch, which a clean water should be used, is for fine cleaning. Washing
process might increase the moisture content of the shoot; therefore pre-drying
process is necessary to reduce the moisture content to the lowest possible
point. The washed shoot will be let dry under the sun for at least an hour.



Slicing process is conducted to reduce
the size of the heart of palm, and eventually will increase the surface area
for better drying. The slicing process should be conducted manually using a
stainless steel knife. It would be great if the shoot could be sliced as thin
as possible to shorten the time for drying process afterward.


3.2.4 DRYING

This process is necessary to reduce down
any excessive moisture left inside the heart of palm. Dehydrator will be chosen
for this phase as it is faster, convenient and easy to use. This phase must be
conducted for at least 2 days to ensure the maximum moisture lost from the
shoot. The texture of the properly dried shoot is expected to be crispy and



For milling, a hand mill can be used. It
is advisable to conduct milling process more than one, so that the texture of
the flour would be fine, smooth and silky. The dried shoot should be milled
immediately to avoid rehydration of the shoot which might spoil the flour.



After the milling process, the flour will
surely have a rough texture. To overcome this problem, the flour will be sieved
using a sieving machine with a very fine sieve until a finer and smoother flour
is obtained.



The flour should be packed right after
the milling process done so that the flour will not rehydrate. Any plastic
container that can prevent outside moisture to get into the flour should be
used so that the shelf life of the flour can be extended. The air inside the container
should be removed as much as possible to avoid any contamination and




Kjeldahl method will be used to determine
the protein content of the heart of palm flour. For this method, a strong acid
is mixed with the food sample so that it would release nitrogen which will be
further determined by using a suitable titration technique and the protein
content is calculated from the nitrogen concentration from the sample. The
first step to determine protein content using Kjeldahl method is the digestion
method where the food sample is heated up with the presence of sulphuric acid,
anhydrous sodium sulphate, and a catalyst such as copper. This process will
release any nitrogen in the food sample into ammonia.

Next is neutralisation process, where
sodium hydroxide is added to make the solution alkaline which will convert
ammonium sulphate into ammonia gas. The ammonia gas then will be channelled to
a flask with boric acid and the ammonia gas will be converted into ammonium ion,
thus will simultaneously convert boric acid to borate ion.

Lastly, the nitrogen content will be
estimated by titration process of ammonium borate with a standardised sulphuric
or hydrochloric acid and a suitable indicator will be used to determine the end-point
of the titration process. The concentration of nitrogen is estimated from the
hydrogen ion concentration where both concentrations are equivalent.



Starch content analysis is conducted to
determine the concentration of starch in the heart of palm flour. Firstly, the
flour sample will be dispersed in 80% ethanol solution so that the
monosaccharides and oligosaccharides will be eliminated as both components are
soluble in ethanol, but starch is not. Therefore, the starch can be separated
from the solution via filtering or centrifuging.

Once the starch is successfully
separated, specific enzyme will be added into it to break the starch into
glucose. The glucose concentration can be analysed using chromatography or
enzymatic methods.



The effectiveness of the flour will be
tested by making a bread out of it. A simple bread will be made to determine
the suitability of the flour and also to detect any flavour enhancing effect
between the heart of palm flour and conventional flour. This experiment will be
divided into two parts, first one is fully usage of the heart of palm flour in
the bread making and the second part is to use conventional wheat flour, where
the heart of palm flour will act as added high protein flour.





Active dry yeast

Warm water between 43 to 45



Heart of palm flour

All-purpose flour

Canola Oil


7 g

570 ml
(2 ¼ cups)

55 g
(3 tbsp)

18 g
(1 tbsp)

1.7 kg
(6 cups)

1.7 kg
(6 cups)

35 ml
(2 tbsp)


Table 2          : List of materials for bread making




Electronic Balance


Bread Mould









Table 3          : List of apparatus for bread making





General Bread Making
Procedure / Control

Yeast will be
dissolve in warm water. Sugar, salt, oil and 1.7 kg g all-purpose flour will be
added and beat until smooth. The dough will be stirred with remaining flour
little by little, to form a soft dough.


The dough will be
kneaded until smooth and elastic for about 8 to 10 minutes. It will later on be
transferred to a greased bowl, covered and is set to rise in a warm place for
about 1 to 1 ½ hours.



The doubled dough
will be divided into half and will be placed in two greased bread mould,
covered and set to rise for 30 to 45 minutes.


The dough will be
baked at 190  for 35 minute until golden brown.
The bread will be set to rest until cool.


All-purpose flour

Heart of palm


Warm water





1.7 kg

7 g

570 ml

18 g

55 g

35 ml


340 g

1.36 kg

7 g

570 ml

18 g

55 g

35 ml


680 g

1.02 kg

7 g

570 ml

18 g

55 g

35 ml


1.02 kg

680 g

7 g

570 ml

18 g

55 g

35 ml


1.36 kg

340 g

7 g

570 ml

18 g

55 g

35 ml







At the end of experiment, the objective
which is to make substitute high protein flour from heart of palm of Elaes
Guineensis is successfully achieved, and the null hypothesis is accepted.

there is a possibility that the experiment failed, it might happen so because
there is a slight miscalculation at the methods section either there is a
mistake when conducting the experiment. The experiment will be conducted again
if the objective is not achievable, where some steps will be changed to suit
the experiment requirement. 





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Retrieved October 22, 2017, from

4.    Hearts of palm, canned Nutrition Facts &
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5.    Kahele,
R. (n.d.). Hana Hou ! The Magazine of Hawaiian Airlines. Retrieved 11
12, 2017, from Hana Hou ! The Magazine of Hawaiian Airlines:

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R. A. (2000). Food, Dictionary Of Literal And Non Literal Terms.
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8.    Zeldes,
L. (2010, November 17). Eat this! Heart of palm, an exotic taste of the
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and More:

Eat this! Heart of palm, an exotic taste of the tropics

9.    Vaile, E.
(2016, February 9). Elaeis Guineensis. Retrieved 11 2, 2017, from Palm Pedia: