Amaranth oil

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Plants

A. cruentus, a source of grain amaranth
A. cruentus, a source of grain amaranth

Amaranth oil is extracted from the seeds of two species of the genus Amaranthus - A. cruentus and A. hypochondriacus - that are called, collectively, grain amaranth. A manufacturer of this unique oil writes:

The oil extracted from these plants contains mainly non-polar lipid compounds especially triglycerides with a high degree of unsaturation. Amaranth oil is a light to medium colored, clear liquid that is pourable at low temperatures, highly unsaturated with a delicate, agreeable aroma and taste, allowing greater usage versatility. It also provides an excellent resource for omega series fatty acids.

The oil is valued for its ability to add temperature stability at both high and low temperatures. Commercial uses of amaranth oil include foods, cosmetics, shampoos and intermediates for manufacture of lubricants, pharmaceuticals, rubber chemicals, aromatics and surface active agents. As a food oil, amaranth oil has a delicate and agreeable taste. Berger et al, in a study of the cholesterol-lowering properties of amaranth grain and oil in hamsters, report that amaranth oil significantly reduced non-HDL cholesterol and raised HDL cholesterol, as well as lowering very low density lipoprotein cholesterol ( VLDL cholesterol) by 21-50%.

Chemically, the major constituents of amaranth oil are:

Fatty acid Content
Linoleic acid 46-50%
Oleic acid 22-26%
Palmitic acid 19-20%
Squalene 5-6%
Stearic acid 3%

The melting point of amaranth oil is -27°C.

The oil content of the actual amaranth grain ranges from 4.8 to 8.1%, which is relatively low compared to other sources of seed oil.

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