It is the most consumed oil in the world. It is found as much in chips as in pizza or soap. A true ecological disaster due to the deforestation it causes, the manufacture of palm oil constitutes a subject of research for scientists who are working to find a more ethically acceptable alternative. In Scotland, we would have finally achieved it.
Palm oil: a disastrous ecological impact
In pizza, spread, and even in deodorant or toothpaste, palm oil is everywhere! Due to its smooth texture and neutral odor while having the capacity to be a natural preservative, this ingredient, mainly manufactured in Malaysia and Indonesia (85% of global production according to WWF), has long interested manufacturers for its low cost. to be manufactured, which makes it possible to present an economical price on the final product. But, there is a but. And this downside has to do with the environment and the ecological disaster caused by the manufacture of palm oil. Representing 40% of all vegetable oils produced in the world, its production indeed creates a dramatic problem of deforestation.
Between 2011 and 2013, oil palm planters burned six million hectares of forest, reports National Geographic. This represents the equivalent of the surface area of Ireland. To cultivate these plant species, we need to clear the forest land to give it a new function in order to establish a new crop. Not only do these smoke from dense fires blur the vision of plane pilots who wish to land in Borneo, but what is more, this deforestation destroys the habitat as well as the food resources of animals such as orangutans. In addition to soil pollution, oil palm cultivation reduces the rate of biodiversity by at least 90% compared to a primary tropical forest, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. For example, it eats away at the living space of elephants, rhinoceroses and even tigers. The consequences also concern the increase in greenhouse gases; deforestation is responsible for 15 to 20% of all human greenhouse gas emissions.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
A healthier alternative
These are all good reasons for Scottish researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh to work on a more ecological alternative, but also one that is healthier for your health. According to a press release, they achieved this without even using any flavoring or chemical preservative, or even less coconut which is often considered as an alternative to more usual oils. The “recipe” is obtained from waste generated by the linen industry. The scientists also added rapeseed oil and natural fibers. The result looks like a kind of mayonnaise. It was called “palm-alt”, an Anglo-Saxon diminutive to designate an alternative to palm oil.
This is not the first time that scientists have looked into the issue of palm oil to find a more ethically acceptable counterpart. At the start of the year, the start-up C16 Biosciences unveiled a process for fermenting food waste to extract a liquid that would be capable of replacing palm oil. The New York company named its discovery “palmless”, focusing on the concept of palm oil…without palm oil. Everything was in fact based on the principle of a synthetic oil obtained through the action of a yeast strain offering the opportunity to launch this fermentation process. The matter is very serious since Bill Gates has invested no less than twenty million dollars in the project….