The popularity of palm oil and its many end products has been growing rapidly. However, due to the possible presence of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) generated during the refinery process, refined palm oil can have potential health risks to the consumer. 3-MCPD is the product of the chemical reaction of acyl glycerol with organic and inorganic bound chloride at high temperatures – therefore, monitoring chlorine content during the entire palm oil production process plays a key role, as the earlier chlorine is detected, the more effective the precautions can be taken to avoid 3-MCPD formation in the refined palm oil.
There are many ways to measure chlorine (Cl), with titration being one of the most used methods. Although easy to operate, titration is an indirect measurement and therefore not as reproducible as direct measurement; plus, it is only a single-element analysis. ICP-OES, instead, has the advantage of being a multi-purpose and multi-element technique. This work describes the analysis of chlorine in different parts of palm trees used in the production of palm oil, leveraging the multi-elemental capabilities of the Avio® 220 Max hybrid simultaneous ICP-OES, which provides direct Cl measurements and the capability to measure both major and micronutrients in fertilizer, as well as the soil in palm plantations.