Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seeds. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. Sunflower oil was first industrially produced in 1835 in the Russian Empire.The world's largest sunflower oil producers now are Russia, Ukraine and Argentina.
Sunflower oil is a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The oil content of the seed ranges from 22 to 36% (average, 28%): the kernel contains 45–55% oil. The expressed oil is of light amber color with a mild and pleasant flavor; refined oil is pale yellow. Refining losses are low and the oil has good keeping qualities with light tendency for flavor reversion. The oil contains appreciable quantities of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other aliphatic hydrocarbons.
In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for sunflower crops such as sunflower oil. Measures such as the development of hybrid sunflowers to increase oil production have been introduced to meet this demand.
Sunflower oil composition:
Sunflower oil is mainly triglycerides (fats), typically derived from the fatty acids linoleic acid (which is doubly unsaturated) and oleic acid .
Sunflower oil is mainly a triglyceride; a typical constituent is shown.The British Pharmacopoeia lists the following profile:
Palmitic acid (saturated): 5%
Stearic acid (saturated): 6%
Oleic acid (monounsaturated omega-9): 30%
Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega-6): 59%
Sunflower oil nutrition:
Several varieties of sunflower oilseeds have been developed by standard plant breeding methods, mainly to vary the amount of oleic acid and linoleic acid which, respectively, are the predominant monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in sunflower oil.
While the original oilseed was high in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated ω-6 fatty acid, a premium high oleic acid strain was developed in the late twentieth century.Early in the 21st century, a mid-oleic strain marketed as Nu-Sun was introduced as an improved frying oil that would have a low level of saturated fat, but would not require hydrogenation.These three major strains have been purposely bred to differ in their levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, saturated fat and tocopherols.All seed hybrids and the resulting different sunflower oils are mostly devoid of essential nutrients, with the notable exception of vitamin E which is high in content in all varietie(nutrient tables).
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