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A study was conducted on the use of straight-run gasoline (SRG) as an
extraction solvent for the leaching of palm kernel to produce palm kernel oil (PKO). SRG is an intermediate product fraction in the second fraction of
crude petroleum oil fractionation that has not undergone any purification process. It is intended as a substitute for the favorable but costlier n-hexane, which is a universally accepted extraction solvent. The solvent was compared against n-hexane in terms of aromaticity (toxicity), extractability, solvent loss and other physical properties such as viscosity, flash point and density. The results indicate that while some of their physical properties are similar and their yield of PKO is comparatively close, the SRG-extracted PKO contains more aromatics (1.3972%) more than PKO extracted with n-hexane. In the course of bleaching the PKO the aromatic content is significantly reduced by 84.3215% for SRG-extracted PKO and 93.5461% for n-hexane-extracted PKO. A chromatographic analysis of refined, marketable, SRG-extracted PKO showed a residual aromatic content of 0.125%. Refined, marketable n-hexaneextracted
PKO was not available for a similar analysis. Other leaching properties investigated showed that n-hexane was superior to SRG.
Key words: Leaching, palm kernel oil, straight-run gasoline, n-hexane