GHI webinar: Palm Oil - The Basics and Beyond

Date: 22 March 2024, Time: 12 noon CET

Duration: 1:37 hours

This webinar aims to provide its participants with an overview about palm oil – its chemistry, biochemistry, functional properties and processing. Although this crop has a high market value, there is so little that is known and so much to be discovered. The two presentations covered here will give a basic introduction about palm oil, followed by its processing methods and the way forward as a crop which has an important role to play into the future.

This GHI webinar is brought to you by the GHI Nutrition working group and will be chaired by Dr. Diana Bogueva, President of GHI. The overall mission of the GHI Nutrition Working Group is to strive for evidence-based global harmonization of nutrition regulations and legislation.

The Basics of Palm Oil

Dr. Viduranga Waisundara Deputy Principal – Australian College of Business & Technology (Kandy Campus), Kandy, Sri Lanka


This presentation is meant to provide a summary and introduction to palm oil, its functions, comparisons and contrasts, and composition. Its purpose is to set the stage to participants who are new to the topic of palm oil, so that the foundation will be set to go deeper into this mass industry – both technically as well as scientifically. Palm oil has become a valuable commodity and an essential aspect for many culinary and industry applications. Thus, it is timely that innovations, technologies and inventions are set to develop the palm oil industry to the next level – possibly in an eco-friendly manner, while preserving its functional properties.

Management and Processing of Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) - The Crop for the Future

Dr. M. Chandra Surya Rao Assistant Professor (Horticulture), School of Agriculture and Food Technology, Vignans Foundation for Science, Technology and Research, Vadlamudi, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India


This presentation aims to emphasize the significance of adopting sustainable crop management and processing practices within the farming community to maximize returns and ensure long-term profitability. By embracing precision agriculture techniques, farmers can effectively minimize resource usage while optimizing crop productivity. Successful oil palm cultivation relies on meticulous crop management, encompassing proper irrigation, balanced fertilization, and specialized intercultural operations. Implementing these practices not only enhances oil palm yield and quality but also fosters sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation. Additionally, employing efficient processing methods is crucial to produce premium palm oil products that meet the demanding standards of the market. Through the dissemination of technical knowledge and promotion of sustainable practices, the farming community can unlock the full potential of oil palm cultivation while safeguarding the future of this vital agricultural industry.

Speaker 1:
Dr. Viduranga Waisundara

Dr. Viduranga Waisundara obtained her Ph.D from the Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore in Food Science & Technology in 2010. She was a lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore from July 2009 – March 2013. She relocated to her motherland of Sri Lanka and spearheaded the Functional Food Product Development Project at the National Institute of Fundamental Studies from April 2013 – October 2016. She was a Senior Lecturer on a temporary basis, at the Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Technology, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka. She is currently the Deputy Principal of the Australian College of Business & Technology – Kandy Campus, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. She is also the present Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) Ambassador to Sri Lanka and is Co-Chair of the GHI Nutrition working group.

Speaker 2:
Dr. M. Chandra Surya Rao

Dr. M. Chandra Surya Rao holds a Ph.D. in Horticulture, specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic Crops, obtained from Dr. Y.S.R. Horticultural University, Andhra Pradesh. His primary research focus lies in plantation crops, specifically on topics such as Irrigation management in Oil Palm and Postharvest management and value addition of Palmyrah. Following the completion of his Ph.D. in 2020, he assumed the role of Assistant Professor (Horticulture) at M.S. Swaminathan School of Agriculture, CUTM, Odisha, an institution accredited by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. In his capacity as an academician, he has been responsible for teaching undergraduate courses like Production Technology for Vegetables and Spices, Production Technology of Fruits and Plantation Crops, Postharvest management and value addition of fruits and vegetables, as well as Protected Cultivation. Additionally, he is involved in mentoring postgraduate students. Dr. Rao's dedication to research and academic excellence has earned him prestigious awards, including the Best Researcher Award for the year 2020 from Elsevier SSRN, the Outstanding/Best Thesis Award in 2021 from the Society for Scientific Development in Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, and the KALP-Young Horticulturist Award in 2021 from Kalp Laboratories (KLCBAS) & The Bouquet Society. His contributions to the field of Horticulture are noteworthy, with a portfolio comprising 6 book chapters, 12 research articles, and 5 popular articles published in well-regarded journals and magazines. Furthermore, he has successfully supervised the research work of 3 MSc. students in the field of Horticulture.

Chair & Event Moderator:
Dr. Diana Bogueva - President of GHI

Dr. Diana Bogueva, is the newly elected President of GHI. Her background is as a social scientist and journalist with interests in sustainable food consumption, alternative proteins, consumer perception of novel food processing technologies and generational consumer behaviour, food sustainability and harmonization. Diana’s work has won three awards: the Australian National Best Book winner in 2019 and the World’s Best Book award 2020 in the Vegetarian book category at the prestigious 24th and 25th Gourmand Awards, considered equivalent to the Oscars in the area of food books, for her co-edited book ‘Environmental, Health and Business Opportunities in the New Meat Alternatives Market’. She also won the 2020 Faculty of Humanities Journal Article of the Year Award at Curtin University for their co-authored paper “Planetary Health and reduction in meat consumption”, which was at the top 5% of all world research outputs scored by Altmetrics. Diana is also a finalist in the 10th International Book Award at America’s Book Fair 2019 for her co-edited book ‘Handbook of Research on Social marketing and its influence on animal origin food product consumption’. In 2022 Diana published her first co-authored book ‘Food in a Planetary Emergency’ with Professor Dora Marinova. This book is a timely overview of current food systems and the required transformations to respond to climate change, population pressures, biodiversity loss and use of natural resources. And, in May 2023, as a tribute to the authors' efforts, talented writing skills and passion, ‘Food in a Planetary Emergency’ was awarded the 'Best of the Best - The Future of Food Gourmand Award’ at the 28th Award Ceremony. In 2024, Diana's co-authored book 'Nutrition Science, Marketing Nutrition, Health Claims and Public Policy' published by Elsevier, was a finalist for the Association of America publisher's award for the professional and scholarly publishing PROSE award.

Online attendance at GHI webinars is free, however, to help the Global Harmonization Initiative (a non-profit organisation run by volunteers) to continue to fund free events like this please consider making a donation. A suggested donation is Euro 10, for more information visit:

For details about the upcoming GHI webinar series and to catch-up with videos of past webinars go to