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Oilseeds are among the most important agricultural commodities worldwide. Edible oils are obtained from the crushing of oilseeds from species that belong to various botanical groups, some of which are perennials (eg argan, avocado, olive) with a majority being herbaceous plants (eg maize, sunflower, soya). Although these species have been traditionally cultivated for centuries, some of them have been recently modified by conventional breeding programs or by genetic modification. The development of a worldwide market has led to the fact that 80% of oilseed traded has been soya in the past years (Table 1), whereas it was mainly used in East Asia (China) only two centuries ago. Today the United States is the largest producer of soybean (together with Brazil), peanut and maize. The Russian Federation and Ukraine are major producers of sunflower while India, China and Canada are the largest producers of rapeseed. However, new species have been modified to adapt to diverse environmental conditions and they are progressively colonising geographical areas that were unthinkable only a few decades ago; ie olive trees planted in Australia or Argentina. One exception is the argan tree, which is well adapted to the extremely dry climate of Southwestern Morocco.Agricultural practices have revolutionized vegetable oil production by increasing yields per hectare to incredible figures and molecular biology has been able to modify chemical composition up to a point that many of the major oilseeds have varieties with a profile of fatty acids (eg, high oleic acid) in line with the consumers’ appeal for healthier foods. The increase in oilseed world …
Publication date: 
1 Jan 2018

Ramón Aparicio, DL García González, Ramón Aparicio-Ruiz

Biblio References: 
Food integrity handbook: a guide to food authenticity issues and analytical solutions, Eurofins. https://doi. org/10.32741/fihb