Palm oil (also known as dendê oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.
Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats and is semi-solid at room temperature. Like most plant-based products, palm oil contains very little cholesterol.
Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil. Its use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is widespread because of its lower cost and the high oxidative stability (saturation) of the refined product when used for frying.
As of 2011, Nigeria was the third-largest producer, with approximately 2.3 million hectares (5.7×106 acres) under cultivation. Until 1934, Nigeria had been the world’s largest producer. Both small- and large-scale producers participated in the industry