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Sunday, 26 May 2019
Wheatgerm oil
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Wheatgerm oil is obtained from wheat corn germs (Triticum Vulgare L.) (crude wheatgerm oil). Usually, oil obtained in this way is then refined (refined wheatgerm oil).

Wheat, an annual, has been cultivated since very ancient times and has divided into countless different forms. Wild forms were being gathered as far back as 8000 years ago, as they fell randomly (unintentionally) around the dwellings of the gatherers, where rooted and were then tended. Later, wheat was cultivated routinely and was selected for specific properties (size, robustness, freedom from spelt, yield....). Nowadays, it is assumed that wheat originated in the Eurasian area. It prefers temperate zones and is actually cultivated, on a small scale, in sub-tropical areas, but not in the tropics. A distinction is made between summer and winter wheat, the latter being able to cope with frosts where the temperature falls to -22°C. Wheat is a demanding cereal that requires heavy, nutrient-rich soils (loamy or black soil) with a high water capacity. Typically, it is cultivated not only in the former Soviet Union, China, the USA, India, Canada, France, Turkey, and Germany, but also in Great Britain and Argentina.

Wheat is a cereal used in bread and the oil is of lesser importance. The wheat seedling contains 7-12% oil, which is obtained by pressing (crude wheatgerm oil) or by extraction, after which it is refined (refined wheatgerm oil). At room temperature, crude wheatgerm oil is clear (temperatures during the pressing process can go as high as somewhere in the region of 60°C). (At low temperatures, it becomes turbid as waxes precipitate. Warming reverses this process, without any loss of quality) It is golden yellow to brown in colour, gives off a typical cereal-type smell and has a typical taste. The refined grade has a yellowish colour and gives off a faint, typical smell. Both grades of wheat oil exhibit roughly equal proportions of palmitic and oleic acid. The linoleic acid content amounts to approx. 55-60% and the linolenic acid content to approx. 5-10%.

The tocopherol (Vitamin E) content is also high, making wheatgerm oil a popular diet oil, although the shelf-life is fairly short, due to the high linolenic acid content (rancidity). Wheatgerm oil, in both crude and refined grades, is used in the cosmetics industry, as an ointment base and as a skin- and hair-care preparation. In the pharmaceuticals trade, wheatgerm oil is used as a filler for soft gelatin (vitamin E) capsules, on account of the natural content of active substance.

INCI Name: Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil