The wild oil palm consists mainly of a thick-shelled variety with a thin mesocarp, called Dura. Breeding work, particularly crosses between Dura and a shell-less variety (Pisifera), have led to the development of a hybrid with a much thicker mesocarp and a thinner shell, termed Tenera. All breeding and planting programs now use this latter type, the fruits of which have a much higher content of palm oil than the native Dura.
high-yielding varieties developed are capable of producing in excess of 20 tonnes of bunches/ha/yr, with palm oil in bunch content of 25 percent. This is equivalent to a yield of 5 tonnes oil/ha/yr (excluding the palm kernel oil), which far incomparable to any other source of edible oil.
Ideal composition of palm fruit
bunch Bunch weight. 23-27kg Fruit/bunch. 60-65 %
Oil/bunch. 21-23 %
Kernel/bunch. 5-7 %
Mesocarp/bunch. 44-46% Mesocarp/fruit. 71-76 %
The other varieties are Pisifera and Tenera, which is a hybrid variety obtained by crossing Dura and Pisifera. The Dura has a large nut with a thick shell and thin mesocarp. The Pisifera is a small fruit with no shell. By crossing the Dura with Pisifera a fruit is obtained with a thick mesocarp containing much more oil and fat (chemically saturated oil) than either of its parents. The Tenera nut is small and is easily shelled to release the palm kernel. The Tenerapalm kernel is smaller than the Dura kernel although the Tenera bunch is much larger than Dura. In all, the Tenera is a much better variety for industrial and economic purposes