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Corn oil (maize oil) is oil extracted from the germ of corn (maize). Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Corn oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils. One bushel of corn contains 1.55 pounds of corn oil (2.8% by weight). Corn agronomists have developed high-oil varieties; however, these varieties tend to show lower field yields, so they are not universally accepted by growers.
Corn oil is also a feedstock used for biodiesel. Other industrial uses for corn oil include soap, salve, paint,rustproofing for metal surfaces, inks, textiles,nitroglycerin, and insecticides. It is sometimes used as a carrier for drug molecules in pharmaceutical preparations.
Some medical research suggests that excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids, relative to omega-3 fatty acids, may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression. Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1, partly due to corn oil which has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 49:1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.
A high intake of omega-6 fatty acids may increase the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer. Similar effects were observed on prostate cancer. Other analysis suggested an inverse association between total polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk.