Sunflower oil

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Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil and sunflower.jpg
Raw material plant (noun)

Sunflower ( Helianthus annuus )


Achene (fruits)


light yellow

Oleic acid 14-39% (HO: 70-92%)
Linoleic acid 48–74% (HO: 2–17%)
Linolenic acid 0-0.3%
Palmitic acid 5–8% (HO: 3–5%)
More fatty acids 3-6% stearic acid
Σ saturated fat 8th %
Σ monounsaturated fatty acids 27%
Σ polyunsaturated fatty acids 65%
Other ingredients Tocopherol 500-800 mg / kg
density 0.92 kg / l at 15 ° C
viscosity = 69 mm 2 s −1 at 20 ° C
Oxidation stability 1.5–2.5 h (refined)
Melting point −16 to −18 ° C
Smoke point 209–213 ° C (refined)

107 ° C (unrefined)

Flash point 316 ° C (refined)

274 ° C (unrefined)

Iodine number 118-144
Calorific value 39.4 MJ / kg
Cetane number 36
Manufacturing and Consumption
Production worldwide 10.0 million tons (2007/08);
15 million tons (2014)
Most important production countries Russia , European Union , Argentina , Ukraine
use Edible oil , animal feed, bioenergy, industry

Sunflower oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the achenes (fruits) of the sunflower with a light yellow color and mild taste. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and is mainly used in nutrition . Sunflower oil is also used to produce biodiesel and for pharmaceutical and technical purposes. Sunflower oil is the fourth highest production vegetable oil in the world.


Sunflower oil obtained by cold pressing is light yellow, while hot-pressed oil is red-yellow. After extraction and refining , the oil is light yellow and clear. The oil is almost odorless, it smells slightly aromatic, greasy, nutty and woody and has a roasted or green note. The taste is mild.


The proportion of fatty acids in the triacylglycerides of sunflower oil differs significantly depending on the origin (variety) of the seeds. In addition to the conventional sunflower oil, in which - similar to safflower oil - linoleic acid with 48 to 74% is a main component of the unsaturated fatty acids, a distinction is made between different types with increased proportions of certain fatty acids.

In the case of high oleic sunflowers (HO sunflowers), the proportion of oleic acid was increased to 70–92% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids was reduced to approx. 10% through conventional breeding. High oleic sunflower oil therefore has a similar composition to olive oil . This is intended to ensure higher heat stability.

Other varieties with modified fatty acid proportions in the triacylglycerides result, for example, in sunflower oil with a high linoleic acid proportion of 76%. Also sunflower oils with a high palmitic and linoleic acid content (27.3% palmitic acid and 46.8% linoleic acid), with a high palmitic and oleic acid content (24.6% palmitic acid and 59.8% linoleic acid) or with a high stearic and oleic acid content (11 % Stearic acid and 79.1% oleic acid) occur.

Fatty acids in the triacylglycerides of sunflower oil
Surname Percentage ownership % Share in%
(high oleic)
C12: 0 Lauric acid to 0.1 -
C14: 0 Myristic acid up to 0.2 to 0.1
C16: 0 Palmitic acid 5.0-7.6 2.6-5.0
C16: 1 Palmitoleic acid up to 0.3 to 0.1
C17: 0 Margaric acid up to 0.2 to 0.1
C17: 1 Delta-9-cis-
heptadecenoic acid
to 0.1 to 0.1
C18: 0 Stearic acid 2.7-6.5 2.9-6.2
C18: 1 Oleic acid 14.0-39.4 75.0-90.7
C18: 2 Linoleic acid 48.3-74.0 2.1-17.0
C18: 3 Linolenic acid up to 0.3 up to 0.3
C20: 0 Arachidic acid 0.1-0.5 0.2-0.5
C20: 1 Gadoleic acid up to 0.3 0.1-0.5
C22: 0 Behenic acid 0.3-1.5 0.5-1.6
C22: 1 Cetoleic acid up to 0.3 up to 0.3
C22: 2 Docosadienoic acid up to 0.3 -
C24: 0 Lignoceric acid up to 0.5 up to 0.5
Sunflower cultivation
General chemical structure of triglycerides, the main component of fats and oils (R 1 , R 2 and R 3 are alkyl or alkenyl radicals with mostly an uneven number of carbon atoms)
Structure of triolein. In high oleic sunflower oil, triolein is the dominant triglyceride; all three fatty acid residues are derived from oleic acid.

The majority of all fatty acids present in vegetable oils are bound as triglycerides to a glycerol residue. The proportion of free fatty acids (FFA) in sunflower oil is comparatively low at less than 1.8%, the peroxide number is less than 8.0  meq / kg. The high vitamin E content in sunflower oil is striking . This protects against oxidative spoilage and therefore improves shelf life.

When the oil is cold-pressed, many vitamins and nutritionally valuable fatty acids are retained in their bioactive form if the liquid is not heated above 30 ° C.


Sunflower oil was used in North America three to four millennia ago. Spanish explorers probably brought the oil plant with them to Europe, where it was mainly used in Italy , Germany and France . Today Russia is the most important producer of sunflower oil, other important producer regions are the EU, Argentina and Ukraine. With an estimated global production volume of 11.5 million t (2008/09 marketing year), sunflower oil is the fourth most important vegetable oil in terms of volume after palm , soybean and rapeseed oil .

Extraction and storage

The oil is pressed from peeled sunflower seeds.

To obtain the oil, the ripe sunflower seeds are peeled, ground and then cold-pressed ; the oil obtained is of high quality. For industrial use, hot pressing is also possible, which provides a higher oil yield with reduced quality. An even higher oil yield is possible through extraction . The extracted oil is partially refined to remove unwanted components.

Vegetable oil is stored cool (<20 ° C), dry and protected from light. Sunflower oil is comparatively stable in storage, the shelf life is max. 12 months after production.


In addition to being used as an edible oil, sunflower oil is also used in pharmacy and medicine, as well as for industrial uses. The vegetable oil is a valuable edible oil that can be used in many ways: in salads and undercooked dishes, dressings and sauces as well as for gently steaming vegetables . Sunflower oil of "high oleic" varieties is more heat-stable and is therefore also used for deep-frying . Sunflower oil is also suitable for use in baby food, as well as for making mayonnaise and margarine .

In pharmacy, the oil is a filling material in soft gelatine capsules, it is also used for ointments and creams and can replace olive oil or peanut oil in medical products. Sunflower oil is traditionally used for constipation and externally for treating wounds and rheumatism.

Sunflower oil is used industrially for paints and varnishes, and it is also found in oil and artist paints. It is also used in leather processing and in cloth manufacture (preservative). As a biofuel , pure sunflower oil can be used as a vegetable oil fuel, but unlike rapeseed oil fuel, the fuel quality has only been little researched and there is no reduction in the mineral oil tax. In contrast, it is common to produce biodiesel from sunflower oil: Around 10% of the biodiesel ( FAME , fatty acid methyl ester) produced in Europe in 2007 consists of sunflower oil methyl ester (SME), made from sunflower oil and methanol by transesterification .


  • S. Krist, G. Buchbauer, C. Klausberger: Lexicon of vegetable fats and oils. Springer Verlag, Vienna, 2008, ISBN 978-3-211-75606-5 , pp. 434-441.

Web links

Wiktionary: Sunflower oil  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f German Food Book - Principles for Edible Fats and Edible Oils . (PDF; 406 kB), Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 2008.
  2. a b c S. Krist, G. Buchbauer, C. Klausberger, 2008: Lexicon of vegetable fats and oils. Springer Verlag, Vienna, ISBN 978-3-211-75606-5 , pp. 434-441.
  3. a b Bavarian State Ministry for State Development and Environmental Issues: Vegetable oil- powered combined heat and power plants. Part 1, 2002, pp. 11, 18, online (PDF; 2.12 MB),, accessed on April 30, 2017.
  4. a b c d e Biofuels Basic Data Germany (PDF; 514 kB), at FNR , October 2008.
  5. Fatty acid composition of important vegetable and animal edible fats and oils . ( Memento of the original from December 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at the German Society for Fat Science . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Robert B. Garlough: Modern Food Service Purchasing. Delmar Cengage Learning, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4180-3964-6 , p. 237.
  7. Frank Gunstone: Vegetable Oils in Food Technology. Second Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4443-3268-1 , p. 149.
  8. BA Stout: Biomass Energy Profiles. Edition 54, FAO, 1983, ISBN 92-5-101302-0 , p. 86.
  9. ^ A b Siegfried Graser, N. Jack, S. Pantoulier (ed.): Agrarmärkte 2007. Vol. 4, series of publications by the Bavarian State Agency for Agriculture (LfL), Freising-Weihenstephan 2008, ISSN  1611-4159 , pp. 83-85 , online (PDF; 3.22 MB), accessed on May 11, 2017.
  10. a b Oilseeds World Markets and Trade (PDF; 1.02 MB), USDA , May 2017, accessed on May 12, 2017.
  11. Regenerative fuels based on vegetable oils and animal fats . ( Memento of the original from September 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Chair for Energy and Environmental Technology in the Food Industry, Technical University of Munich; Retrieved October 27, 2009. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (LfL): Agrarmärkte 2008. Vol. 5, Freising-Weihenstephan 2009, ISSN  1611-4159 , pp. 49-50, online (PDF; 6.13 MB), accessed on May 12, 2017.
  13. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Global biodiesel production uses around eight million tons of vegetable oil ).@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /