The Properties Of Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil
wheat germ oil. Image by Dmitriy Syechin. C/O Pixabay

Wheat germ oil is a rich source of vitamins, such as thiamine (vitamin B1) and tocopherols, especially vitamin E.

Wheat itself is a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E but much of it comes from the oil. The wheat germ constitutes only about 2% of the whole wheat grain but contains about 8–14% oil. The oil has the highest tocopherol content of any vegetable oil which is up to 2,500 mg/kg (Shuler, 1990)

Wheat germ oil has been used as a fertility agent, an antioxidant, and an additive in natural food and health and cosmetic products (Oczan et al., 2013).

Vitamin E is an essential requirement in the diet because only plants and cyanobacteria manufacture it (Bramley et al., 2000).

The composition of the oil is:

Fatty acid%
14:0 (myristic acid)0.16
15:0 (pentadecanoic acid)0.03
16:0 (palmitic acid)10.92
16:1 (palmitoleic acid)0.1
17:0 (margaric acid)0.09
17:1 (cis‐10‐heptadecenoic acid)0.07
18:0 (stearic acid)3.61
18:1 (oleic acid)26.44
18:2 (trans t‐linoleic acid)0.3
18:2 (linoleic acid)51.08
18:3 (trans t‐linolenic acid)0.71
18:3 (linolenic acid)5.17
20:0 (arachidic acid)0.38
20:1 (eicosenoic acid)0.24
22:0 (behenic acid)0.48
24:0 (lignoceric acid)0.22

The tocopherols have high antioxidant activity and are known to have several health benefits. They are associated with improved muscle and physical strength, a reduction in aging, reducing blood cholesterol levels and delaying the progression of degenerative diseases (Oczan et al., 2013),

Issues with Wheat Germ Oil

A very short shelf-life. the tocopherols rapidly degrade due to autoxidation. Storage temperature and time have major impacts on stability (Margariño et al., 2015).

The high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes this oil susceptible to oxidation. To overcome this microencapsulation has been tried (Karadeniz et al., 2018; Yazicioglu et al., 2015).

References

Bramley, P. M., Elmadfa, I., Kafatos, A., Kelly, F. J., Manios, Y., Roxborough, H. E., … Wagner, K. (2000). Vitamin EJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture80, pp. 913938 (Article)

Karadeniz, M., Sahin, S., & Sumnu, G. (2018). Enhancement of storage stability of wheat germ oil by encapsulationIndustrial Crops & Products114, pp. 1418.

Margariño, M., Mateo, C. M., & Nolasco, S. M. (2015). Kinetics of tocopherol degradation during the storage of wheat germ oilCanadian Journal of Chemical Engineering93, pp. 19992004https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.22316  

Ozcan, M. M.Rosa, A.Dessi, M. A.Marongiu, B.Piras, A., & AL‐Juhaimi, F. Y. I. (2013). Quality of wheat germ oil obtained by cold pressing and supercritical carbon dioxide extractionCzech Journal of Food Sciences31(3), 236240. (Article) https://doi.org/10.17221/172/2012-CJFS

Yazicioglu, B.Sahin, S., & Sumnu, G. (2015). Microencapsulation of wheat germ oilJournal of Food Science and Technology52(6), pp. 35903597https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-014-1428-1

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