Please note that all the information presented above is provided at the courtesy of
- US Department of Agriculture
- Skorić D, Jocić S, Sakac Z, Lecić N (2008). "Genetic possibilities for altering sunflower oil quality to obtain novel oils". Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 86 (4): 215–21. doi:10.1139/Y08-008.PMID 18418432.
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from the seeds of sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. 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.
Several varieties of sunflower oilseeds have been developed by standard plant breedingmethods, 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 andtocopherols. 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 varieties (nutrient tables).