An Iranian sepiolite was activated with 1.5 M HCl. During activation, the specific surface area increased from 105 to 168 m2/g and the SiO2 content increased from 45.4 to 51.6%. The roles of temperature and time and the amount of acid-activated sepiolite used, were investigated and the optimum conditions, where chlorophyll, β-carotene, free fatty acid and peroxide were at their minimum levels, were determined for bleaching of canola oil by applying response surface methodology (RSM). Optimum bleaching conditions were obtained by adding 3% of acid-activated sepiolite at a temperature of 110°C with a bleaching time of 42.46 min during which, the amount of chlorophyll-α, β-carotene, free fatty acid and peroxide were reduced from 12.30 to 0.35 mg/kg, 49.15 to 14.98 mg/kg, 0.62 to 0.15%, and 3.87 to 2.14 meq O2/kg of oil, respectively. At optimum conditions, sepiolite displayed a greater capacity for removal of chlorophyll and β-carotene than a commercial bentonite bleaching agent.

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