Palm Oil processing gives rise to highly polluting waste-water, referred to as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME), which is often discarded in disposal ponds, leading to the leaching of contaminants that pollute the groundwater and soil, and in the discharge of methane gas into the atmosphere. POME is an oily wastewater generated by palm oil processing mills and consists of various suspended components oil press materials. This liquid waste mixed with the wastes from steriliser condensate and cooling water is called palm oil mill effluent (POME). On average, for each and every ton of FFB (fresh fruit bunches) processed, a standard palm oil mill generate about 1 tonne of liquid waste with biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) 27 kg, chemical oxygen demand (COD) 62 kg, suspended solids (SS) 35 kg and oil and grease 6 kg.
POME has a quite high Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), which is 100 times over the municipal sewage. POME is a non-toxic waste, as no chemical is added during the oil extraction process, but can pose environmental issues as a result of large oxygen depleting capability in aquatic system because of organic and nutrient contents. The high organic matter is as a result of the presence of different sugars for example arabinose, xylose, glucose, galactose and manose. The suspended solids in the POME are primarily oil-bearing cellulosic materials from the fruits. Since the POME is non-toxic as no chemical is added in the oil extraction process, it is a good source of nutrients for microorganisms.
At this time, it is a new approach in managing POME to recover the renewable organic-based product. The objective of the technology is generally to recover by-products such as volatile fatty acid, biogas and poly-hydroxyalkanoates to promote sustainability of the palm oil industry. In addition pay attention to this , it is envisaged that POME can be sustainably reused as a fermentation substrate in production of various metabolites through biotechnological advances. And also the high organic acids contained in the POME can be utilized as carbon source.