Sunflower seed oil is obtained from Helianthus annuus and is grown mainly in Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, some EU-27 countries, China, and USA. The oil normally contains 60-75% of linoleic acid with >90% of oleic and linoleic acids combined and virtually no linolenic acid. Its major triacylglycerols are typically LLL (14%), LLO (39%), LLS (14%), LOO (19%), LOS (11%), and other (3%). It is widely used as a cooking oil and is valued as an important component of soft spreads especially in Western Europe. High-oleic varieties have been developed. Sunola (Highsun) comes from a high-oleic variety and has about 85% oleic acid (some samples reach 90%) and is used to meet the growing demand for high-oleic oils. NuSun with ~ 60% oleic acid has been developed in the USA and it is hoped that it will replace regular sunflower oil in that country. In the ten years between 2001/02 and 2011/12, sunflowers have been cultivated on 19-26 million hectares producing 21-40 million tonnes of seed and 7.4-15.1 million tonnes of oil therefrom.
Updated: March, 2013