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neutralising

This operation consists in neutralising the free fatty acids, using caustic soda. The process transforms the free fatty acids into soaps.

These are no longer soluble in water and can be removed easily by decantation or centrifugal force. The removal of the free fatty acids does not close neutralisation, as the operation also eliminates the phospholipids that are not hydrated at degumming level, and it reduces the amount of metal traces as well as some pigments and minor constituents.