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HomeAromatherapyCanarium Tree: The Tree that Retains on Giving

Canarium Tree: The Tree that Retains on Giving

The Canarium tree, extra generally referred to as Elemi and domestically referred to as the Pili tree, is a tree endemic to the Philippines. It is without doubt one of the 4 genera within the household of Burseraceae, with over 100 species of tropical and subtropical timber–and 53 of which have been discovered within the Philippines. The most important island Luzon is the place a lot of the Canarium species are, notably within the space known as Bicolandia or the Bicol area. Within the forests of this area, very outdated Pili timber measuring greater than 50m in top are nonetheless to be discovered as we speak.

My love for Pili began as a baby. Our nanny, who hailed from Bicol, would all the time carry me again some candied Pili kernel snack at any time when she comes again to Manila from her yearly trip. As an aromatherapist, my love for the Canarium tree was enriched in 2018, after I first met a microdistiller right here within the Philippines who produces Elemi important oils from the 2 major Canarium species within the Philippines–C. luzonicum and C. ovatum.

The Philippines nonetheless dominates the world export marketplace for Pili merchandise. Data of the Division of Agriculture present that the Philippines has been exporting the Elemi resin to the US, Nice Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Cuba, China, Hong Kong, and Japan (Catelo and Jimenez, 2016). Whereas C. luzonicum is sought primarily for its sap or resin, as its important oil is the worldwide customary most popular within the perfume business, the locals of Bicolandia area would a lot moderately give significance to its lesser-known sister, Canarium ovatum, because it bears bigger fruit, and subsequently is taken into account to supply extra financial worth.

The Pili tree is valued by the locals primarily for its nuts or kernel, and the remainder of the Pili pulp has lengthy been thought-about a waste product of the Pili business. In recent times, the Division of Agriculture recognized Pili as a crop worthy of extra intensive analysis and improvement actions, because the banner crop of Bicolandia (Gallegos et al., 2013). The Pili kernel has the potential of being a prime export commodity that’s comparable with macadamia, cashew, almond, and walnut when it comes to high quality. Due to this potential financial acquire, numerous improvement packages had been carried out to help the Bicol area not simply within the manufacturing and processing of the Pili nuts, but in addition diversifying into new methods of processing the Pili resin (Elemi resin), and the manufacturing of different Pili-related merchandise from its Pili pulp waste.

Cross Part of a Canarium ovatum Fruit

The Pili kernel or the Pili nut has historically been exported by the locals as candied or seasoned snacks like sugar or honey-glazed crispy Pili, Pili tarts, salted Pili, and even roasted Pili.  Nonetheless, in current a long time, the locals have discovered to course of the Pili pulp waste into a mess of merchandise. With this, the Pili fruit alone is presently processed into Pili pulp oil and Pili kernel oil for culinary and cosmetics functions; Pili pulp pomace and Pili kernel pomace as tea; the black peel of the Pili fruit is processed as a pure meals coloring for sauces; its uncooked kernel powder and Pili pulp powder for truffles; the testa or the papery brown seed coating is used as an animal feed or is usually roasted and used as an additive for cookies; the shell of the Pili nut is processed into charcoal and when changed into activated carbon, it may be used for water purification. All of those Pili merchandise is aside from the financial worth that the Elemi resin alone offers to the economic sector as an ingredient to fabricate adhesives, printing inks, paints, fireproofing, and waterproofing supplies; whereas the spent resin is bought to varnish producers or up-cycled as a invaluable ingredient for plane sealant. Additional, with the rising variety of Filipino micro-distillers and Pili processors within the nation, the recent uncooked resin is likewise sought to be distilled as C. ovatum important oil and hydrosol.

The Pili kernel incorporates roughly 8% carbohydrate, 11.5% to 13.9% protein, and 70% fats. Extraction of the Pili kernel yields a light-weight yellowish oil with a mixed linoleic and linolenic fatty acid content material of lower than 11%, whereas the saturates-palmitic and stearic acids-account for 33.3% and 10.9% of the fatty acids, respectively. The fatty acid composition of Pili nut oil is much like palm oil. They each have roughly equal quantities of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with palmitic and oleic acids as the principle fatty acids. The unfractionated oil may be very low in polyunsaturated fatty acids. With this, we will say that the Pili kernel oil has poor dietary worth as a result of its low polyunsaturated fatty acid content material (Kakuda et al., 2000).

Some have likened Pili kernel oil to olive oil. The oil has a distinctly candy style, which makes it appropriate for culinary functions. Presently, Pili kernel oil is taken into account an economically-wise substitute for olive oil for native producers of canned sardines, salad dressings, and different meals preparations (Pham and Dumandan, 2015).

Bodily and Chemical Properties of Olive Oil, Pili Kernel Oil, and Pili Pulp Oil

Property Olive Oil Pili Kernel Oil Pili Pulp Oil
Particular gravity (28C) 0.9325 0.8936 0.9012
Refractive index (25C) 1.4368 1.4999 1.4590
Iodine quantity 68.5+/-0.2 56.20 74.57
Saponification 184+/-3 193 178
Unsaponifiable matter (%) 1.64+/-0.05 0.55 1.69
Free fatty acid (mg/g oil) 3.1+/-0.2 0.18 5.23
B-Carotene (mg/100 g pattern) 2.4 17.4 56.89
Sources: Asuncion (2006); Pham and Dumandan (2015)

However, Pili fruit pulp is barely richer in fats with roughly 3% carbohydrate, 3% ash, 10% water, 11% protein, and 73% fats. Pili pulp oil is a comparatively newly found supply of vegetable oil within the Philippines. The oil is obtained by guide extraction utilizing a mechanical pulp press, by solvent extraction, and even by enzymatic oil extraction. Whereas the locals would usually use Pili pulp oil as gasoline for lighting or used of their day by day cooking, most Pili processors in Bicol would market the oil to numerous nutraceutical cosmetics firms for its functions in soaps and different natural skincare preparations. Presently, Pili pulp oil is traded in each native and worldwide markets as an ingredient within the manufacturing of tub soaps, therapeutic massage oils, anti-dandruff shampoo, and different beauty merchandise.

The Pili pulp oil varies from yellow-green to darkish inexperienced, relying on the kind of extraction. In response to Pham and Dumandan, the Pili pulp oil is nearer in composition to avocado oil. It’s comprised of 56.7% oleic glycerides, 13.5% linoleic glycerides, and 29.3% saturated fatty acids (Catelo and Jimenez, 2016) It has been reported that the Pili pulp oil incorporates 23.96% palmitic acid, 4.66%  palmitoleic acid, 2.64% stearic acid, 60.93% oleic acid and 6.63% linoleic acid. The lipid molecular species current within the unsaponifiable matter of the stated oil are carotenoids (141.79 mg/100 g oil), tocopherols (92.44 mg/100 g oil), and sterols (1,009.61 mg/100 g oil) (Tugay, et al., 2020).

C. ovatum Pulp Oil Pattern from Sorsogon

The unsaponifiable matter is greater in Pili pulp oil than in Pili nut oil. With this, the Pili pulp oil is extra secure than the Pili nut oil and is taken into account more healthy when it comes to its fatty acid composition and pure antioxidant content material. Based mostly on the evaluation carried out by DOST Area V, the Pili pulp oil has very low free fatty acid (FFA) content material (0.06%) and moisture content material (0.04%), which favor a protracted shelf lifetime of the product (Catelo and Jimenez, 2016).

Within the final 20 years, the C. ovatum tree has given us greater than candied Pili nuts and Elemi important oil. The rising demand for pure components within the pharmaceutical and cosmetics business has paved the way in which for the locals to think about methods to course of the Pili pulp waste into numerous agricultural byproducts therefore bettering the general Pili product portfolio within the Philippines. Now, we get to get pleasure from lovely Pili merchandise like Elemi hydrosol, Pili nut oil, and Pili pulp oil, amongst others. The regular progress of aromatherapists and rising client consciousness of aromatherapy merchandise within the nation have likewise been encouraging for the Pili processors to enhance their agricultural sustainability practices and Elemi distillation processes to world-class requirements. Now that the Canarium ovatum tree or the Pili tree is taken into account a zero-waste crop, the Pili processors stay optimistic about their roles to supply financial and employment alternatives to their neighborhood as they try to raise the standard of their merchandise to fulfill the rising international demand.

Word: An earlier copy of this text was printed in Aromatics in Motion™  Vol.5 Subject 3 final September 2022


Asuncion, J.N. (2006). Pili Oil Extraction Know-how in DOST-V. DOST-STII.

Catelo, S. P. and Jimenez, C. D. (2016). An Exploratory Research of the Financial Potential of Philippine Pili Pulp Oil From Waste Pulp.  JEMAD.

Gallegos, R. Ok. B., Suministrado, D. C., Amongo, R. M. C., and Madlangbayan, M. S. (2013). Some Bodily and Mechanical Properties of Pili (Canariumovatum Engl. cv. Katutubo) Nut as a Perform of Nut Moisture Content material. The Philippine Agricultural Scientist Vol.96 No.1: p66-74.

Kakuda, Y., Jahaniaval, F., Marcone, M. F., Montevirgen, L., Montevirgen, Q., and Umali, J. (2000). Characterization of pili nut (Canarium ovatum) oil: Fatty acid and triacylglycerol composition and physicochemical properties.  J Amer Oil Chem Soc.

Pham, L. J. and Dumandan N. G. (2015). Philippine Pili: Composition of the lipid molecular species. Journal of Ethnic Meals.

Tugay, M.M.D.R., Mopera, L.E., Esguerra, E.B., and Castillo-Israel, Ok.A.T. (2020). Physico-chemical and high quality characterization of pulp oil from two kinds of pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.) from Bicol, Philippines. Meals Analysis. Pham, L. J. and Dumandan N. G. (2020). Bioactive Compounds of Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.). Bioactive Compounds in Underu


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