Abstract A novel and simple low-temperature process was used to recover tocopherols from a deodorizer distillate, which is a by-product of edible oil refining. The process consists of three operations: the esterification of free fatty acids with a cation-exchange resin catalyst, the adsorption of tocopherols onto an anion-exchange resin, and tocopherol desorption from the resin. No degradation of tocopherols occurred during these processes. In the tocopherol-rich fraction, no impurities such as sterols or glycerides were present. These impurities are commonly found in the product of the conventional process. This novel process improves the overall recovery ratio and the mass fraction of the product (75.9% and 51.0 wt%) compared with those in the conventional process (50% and 35 wt%).
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