Application of sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is mainly used in food or technical applications such as cooking oil, for biofuels and cosmetics. In South Africa sunflower oil is mainly used for cooking purposes in. The population is increasingly concerned about healthy eating habits thus the population has shifted away from the consumption of fatty acids and hydrogenated fats towards more unsaturated fats with the increase in the consumption of vegetable oils and fats.
In recent years, domestic demand for sunflower oil has increased. Food processors use the oil for frying foods (including potato chips) and in salad and cooking oil, margarine, and dairy substitutes. Sunflower oil is preferred in many high-quality dining establishments for its neutral taste. A small supply of high-oleic oil is used in industrial frying applications where high temperatures require good oxidation stability. A small amount of oil is also used in cosmetics, resins, and lubricants (USDA, 2011).
Sunflower oil can be divided between linoleic, high-oleic, and mid-oleic sunflower oils. Until recently, linoleic oil was the predominant oil. Linoleic oil must be partially hydrogenated to maintain its stability in various uses, a process that also creates trans fats. Plant breeders began developing mid-oleic seed after research uncovered a link between trans fats and heart disease. Today, the majority of the sunflower oil supply is mid-oleic, which does not require hydrogenation. Mid-oleic oil has no trans fats, low monounsaturated fat, and a neutral taste (USDA, 2011). There will be more application of sunflower oil in the future.
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