January to March 2006

Pili oil extraction technology in DOST-V

The Department of Science and Technology’s provincial office in Sorsogon developed a simple method of producing oil from pilinut pulp. The process extracts oil from freshly harvested pilinuts using minimal heat and simple cooking and filtration tools. Because the process retains the aroma and natural green color of pili pulp, the resulting oil can be considered of premium or virgin quality.

DOST-Sorsogon provincial office initiated the development of the technology as an alternative to the process introduced by National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at University of the Philippines in Los Baños, which uses enzymes in extraction and chemicals in refining pili pulp oil. This technology, while more efficient, is rather complicated and requires substantial investment and may not be suitable in a micro or village scale pilinut-processing venture.

There is also a need to satisfy the demand of local organic groups, which took interest in the product for naturally processed, chemical-free, and virgin quality pili pulp oil for food, health, and cosmetic applications.
Establishing the varietal differences in oil yield requires further study. But oil recovery is expected to increase if a suitable mechanical pulp press or extractor becomes available.

Production Process

The DOST V production technology involves the following steps.

Pilinuts oil extraction process

Oil Yield

Using manual extraction, the technology was tested using different varieties of pili obtained from different areas in Sorsogon province. Oil yield, computed as percentage by weight of whole fresh pilinut, varies widely and is clearly associated with the variety of pilinut. However, the maximum yield recorded so far is about 6 percent, which translates to about 65 ml/kg of fresh whole nuts.
Establishing the varietal differences in oil yield requires further study. But oil recovery is expected to increase if a suitable mechanical pulp press or extractor becomes available.

Oil quality

pili oil quality tableAnalyses conducted at DOST V laboratory showed that the oil produced by the process has a very low free fatty acid (FFA) content of 0.06% and moisture content (MC) of only 0.04%, which favors a longer shelf life of the product.

Chemical and Nutritional Analyses

Chemical and nutritional analyses of pili pulp oil are very similar to olive oil. However, pili pulp oil have more beta carotene, a known vitamin A source, and carotenoids, which makes it more nutritious than olive oil.

Other benefits

Pili oil has always been featured in traditional medicines and herbal remedies in Bicol region where it abounds. Indigenous knowledge gathered attest to its efficacy in treating skin diseases such as scabies and de-worming capability for livestock such as pigs and chicken. Recent testimony to its ability to cure diabetes was published by Fernando Simon of YAMANKO enterprises.
Some groups that advocate and promote organic products reportedly believe in the potential health benefits of pili pulp oil, which they claim could equal or even surpass that of virgin coconut oil.

Technology Transfer

The simplicity of the technology allowed for its easy diffusion through technology transfer trainings to pili processors, traders, and farmers in Sorsogon. Since October 2004, DOST Sorsogon provided technology transfer training to the following:

1. Melinda Yee [proprietor of Leslie Pili Products, Sorsogon City]
2. Pili Producers Association of Sorsogon (PPAS)
3. City Agriculture Officers/personnel of Sorsogon City LGU
4. The Lewis College
5. Prieto Diaz LGU
6. Gubat LGU

Developing the industry

The introduction of the technology generated renewed interest among local stakeholders and is paving the way for the establishment of the pili pulp oil production industry in Sorsogon. At present, raw pili pulp oil sells at P100 per liter. In support of the industry’s development, DOST V is currently working to develop technologies on mechanical extraction and other non-chemical approach in oil refining.