Thursday, April 26, 2012

Highest purity oleic acid in Australian safflower oil

CSIRO scientists in Australia have produced safflower seed oil that contains more than 90 per cent oleic acid, the highest reported level of an individual fatty acid available in any plant oil.

Oleic acid is a highly sought-after resource in the global oleochemical industry and is increasingly used as a key material in the manufacture of bio-based plastics, foams and adhesives.
This new 'super-high’ oleic safflower oil is a significant advance for the industry, exceeding the best existing level in any plant by up to 10 per cent.

This world first achievement will be presented simultaneously at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing in Orlando and the American Oil Chemists’ Society Annual Meeting in Long Beach in early May.

Mr Cameron Begley, Commercial General Manager at CSIRO, said the very high purity level that has been achieved provides significant advantages in these applications.
“The super-high oleic safflower oil has tremendous stability and is also biodegradable, making it ideal for direct use in industrial lubricants, hydraulic fluids and dielectric fluids,” Mr Begley said. “We now expect to engage in further discussions with a number of international companies to develop production of these plants in Australia,” he said.
The new ‘super-high’ oleic acid safflower plant varieties were developed by the Crop Biofactories Initiative - a strategic R&D partnership between the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in Australia.
Dr Allan Green, Deputy Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry, said CSIRO had used its gene silencing technology to boost the level of desirable oleic acid by switching off its conversion to other unwanted fatty acids.
“Plant oils contain a range of fatty acids including both monounsaturates and polyunsaturates,” Dr Green said.
For food use it’s important to have a healthy balance of these fatty acids. However, the polyunsaturates cause problems for industrial use because they are unstable and difficult to remove. The Crop Biofactories Initiative has succeeded in dramatically lowering the polyunsaturates in safflower oil to below three per cent, thereby raising the monounsaturate oleic acid to over 90 per cent purity.
“Crop biofactories have potential to renewably produce a wide range of compounds that can replace many non-renewable petroleum-based industrial chemicals,” he said.
‘Super-high’ oleic safflower will be the Crop Biofactories Initiative’s lead industrial product and provides a core technology platform for the future development of a range of oils with very high contents of industrially-important derivatives of oleic acid.

This guest post was provided by Ms Kylie Williams, Communication Advisor, CSIRO Plant Industry. If you would like to write for the AOCS Blog please email your editors at

1 comment:

  1. Oleic acid is widely used in pharmaceutical products manufacturing. Oleic acid is fatty acid. Oleic acid is a common monounsaturated fat and is used as an emulsifying or solubilizing agent.