- Sunflower is an
annual, erect, broadleaf plant with a strong taproot and prolific
lateral spread of surface roots. Stems are usually round early in the
season, angular and woody later in the season, and normally unbranched.
Sunflower leaves are phototropic and will follow the sun's rays with a
lag of 120 behind the sun's azimuth. This property has been shown to
increase light interception and possibly photosynthesis.
- The sunflower head
is not a single flower but is made up of 1,000 to 2,000 individual
flowers joined at a common receptacle. The flowers around the
circumference are ligulate ray flowers without stamens or pistils; the
remaining flowers are perfect flowers (with stamens and pistils).
Anthesis (pollen shedding) begins at the periphery and proceeds to the
center of the head. Since many sunflower varieties have a degree of
self-incompatibility, pollen movement between plants by insects is
important, and bee colonies have generally increased yields.
- Universal oilseed
equipment may be used for the 3 main methods:
Mechanical: In the screw press or expeller method the seeds are
crushed or rolled and heated. The heating helps to break up the oil
bearing tissues and to inactivate phospholipases and lipases and thus
reducing the level of non-hydratable phosphatides and the acid value.
The oil is then filtered. This process reduces the cake oil content to
Prepress solvent: This is the most common method. Following
mechanical extraction the cake prepressed then granulated or flaked at
an increased temperature and enters a solvent extractor with the cake
passing in the opposite direction to the recoverable solvent (usually
hexane due to its lower cost and toxicity). The cake oil content is
reduced to 1-3%.
Direct solvent: Kernels are conditioned, flaked and the oil
solvent extracted directly giving a cake with 2-4% oil.
- High oleic
sunflower oil has higher oxidated stability than conventional oil. It
has expanded the application of sunflower oils for frying purposes,
tends to enhance shelf life of snacks, and could be used as an
ingredient of infant formulas requiring stability.
- The price of
sunflower oil usually prohibits its widespread use in industry, but
there are several applications that have been explored. It has been
used in certain paints, varnishes and plastics because of good
semidrying properties without color modification associated with oils
high in linolenic acid. In Eastern Europe and the USSR where sunflower
oil is plentiful, sunflower oil is used commonly in the manufacture of
soaps and detergents. The use of sunflower oil (and other vegetable
oils) as a pesticide carrier, and in the production of agrichemicals,
surfactants, adhesives, plastics, fabric softeners, lubricants and
coatings has been explored.
sunflowers are special oil hybrids that have an oleic acid content of
80 percent or greater. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that contains the
highest level of monounsaturates among commercially available
alternatives. Market niches have developed for high oleic sunflower
oil within the food industry and in other industrial applications. As
a result, production from high-oleic sunflower hybrids commands a
price premium over regular oil sunflower.
demand for oil sunflower is derived largely from the market demand for
sunflower oil and meal, the by-products of the sunflower crush
process. Sunflower seed oil is one of many vegetable oil products that
make up the “oilseed complex.”
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