by Julia Newman (’19)
Oilseeds are incredibly valuable in our society because they are applicable to a wide array of industries. Currently, soybeans, sunflowers, and rapeseeds are the most commonly used plants for their oils due to their high nutritional value, ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and large quantity of oil extracted per plant. However, it was recently discovered by Dr. Sorkheh and his team of researchers from the universities in Iran that almond oil has very similar components to these popular oilseeds and could be used for many of the same benefits.
A specific species of wild almond, Prunus scoparia, is often used in cooking because of its oleic acid content and highly nutritional linoleic acid, both of which are also found in sunflower, safflower, and linseed oils. This almond species also showed a high stearic acid content, which can be used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce hormonal medications or in various cosmetic industries to produce soap, shampoo, and even candles. This finding of the contents of almond oil may provide a new source of oilseed, making it much more readily available not only for food production but cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and biodiesel industries around the world.
- Sorkheh et. al., Wild almond as a potential oilseed resource for the future: studies on the variability of its oil content and composition. Food Chemistry 212, 58-64 (2016).
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