Wax Purification

The term “wax” raises the picture in our minds of a white solid fat like candle or bees’ wax, but this does not bring out the correct concept of wax. Wax is a fat-like material which contains numerous substances that usually have high melting points. The composition of wax varies from one type to another based on its source. Wax is a very common material which is found both on the surface of plants as well as on animal skins. Wax is highly hydrophobic so it is used as a natural protectant against water and moisture, even against microorganisms. The glassy surface appearance of leaves or fruits is due to wax.

Wax is usually after separated from the oil by some de-waxing process. Mecpro has developed a continuous de-waxing process which produces wax with less oil entrainment. The removed wax is further de-oiled and purified for various applications. The major component of wax in edible oil is wax esters, which consist of long chain alkyl esters and steryl esters. They are classified as a polar lipid species, whose polarity is lower than that of di-glycerides. Rice bran oil wax is notable for its high anti-oxidant content.

Wax is a type of hydrocarbon that contains long chain alkanes, often containing ester, carboxylic acid or alcohol groups. The structure and molecular weight of the hydrocarbon chain and the relative concentration of the functional groups determine the hardness of the wax. Natural waxes are mixtures of several kinds of waxes whereas petroleum derived waxes tend to be more homogenous. Waxes can be classified according to their source.The source of wax can be natural, plants, animals, petroleum, and high temperature cracked polyethylene wax.


Currently the rice bran oil wax after separation from the oil is traded as such in our country without any purification. Thus there is no value addition in the process.

Today wax is considered as a by-product or waste material from the oil production process. The rice bran oil wax purification will recover the oil from the wax.

After removal of impurities, the high quality wax can be used for several applications, which are needed in modern life. Saponified rice bran esters generate fatty acid, long chain alcohols and Phytosterol. Phytosterol and long chain fatty alcohols are known to reduce serum cholesterol and inhibit hepatic cholesterol synthesis.


Appearance Melting Point (°C) Saponification Value (SV) Acid value AV Iodic value IV Wax content % Oil content % Glue Impurity % Oil absorption test
Yellowish Solid 77-82 75-90 1-10 1-13 90-95 1-2 0-1 Qualified
(±40°c, not to penetrate
oil in 24 hours)



The rice bran wax has more value than naturally occurring waxes like bees’ wax, Lanolin, Lanocerin, Shellac, Ozokerite, carnauba, Candellila jojoba, Ouricourl, Montan or paraffin. Edible grade wax is used to coat fruits, paper, thermal transfer recording material; surfaces of various materials, toner composition, PTT coated silicon ruberols, candles, water proofing, polish, binder for manufacturing and hundreds of other applications. Besides the wax can further be converted into octocosanol or polycosanol as a pharmaceutical grade product.

This project is executed by Mecpro along with the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad for ensuring superior quality.

Rice Bran wax has been chosen as one of the waxes from plant sources for applications such as a natural additive in foods, cosmetics and other industries like polishes, carbon paper and lubricants. Rice Bran wax consists almost exclusively of saturated monoesters with a carbon chain.

The process of Rice Bran wax production involves low temperatures. Crystallization of wax from the oil is followed by filtration.

In the Mecpro technique wax is treated with Solvent to prepare a wax suitable for industrial use. Sludge is purified to get a hard wax (by using Solvent treatment).

The novelty in the process is that the difficult step of percolation of Solvent through the wax suspension has been eliminated. The method is based on a combination of physical and chemical methods where the wax and oil fractions are separated by using low pressure and non-polar solvent treatment. The Solvent oil can be recovered and reused, thereby making the process very economical.