The oil extracted from sunflower seeds is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and contains low levels of saturated lipids. Owing to this chemical composition, the consumption of sunflower oil decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and, thus, it is extensively used. The high content in polyunsaturated fatty acids, however, renders sunflower oil susceptible to lipid oxidation, and consequently to deterioration of the oil.
Valeria Nepote and co-workers, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia de los Alimentos, Argentina, reported a new way around this issue. The researchers supplemented roasted sunflower seeds with oregano essential oils and demonstrated that these natural additives delay the lipid oxidation that takes place during the seeds storage. Moreover, as the lipid oxidation processes are a primary cause of undesirable flavors, the addition of oregano essential oils prevented the development of a rancid taste without influencing other important properties of the seeds, such as texture. As a consequence, the addition of oregano essential oil was positively accepted by consumers.
Oregano essential oils could, thus, be used as natural antioxidant to preserve the quality of sunflower seeds.
- Antioxidant Effect of Poleo and Oregano Essential Oil on Roasted Sunflower Seeds,
Patricia R. Quiroga, Nelson R. Grosso, Valeria Nepote,
J. Food Sci. 2013, 78, S1904–S1912.