The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Vegetable oil

A vegetable oil or vegoil is an oil extracted from oilseeds or another plant source. Some vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, cottonseed or castor oil, are not fit for human consumption without further processing.

Like all fats, vegetable oils are esters of glycerin and a varying blend of fatty acids, and are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents.



Common sources of vegetable oil include:


Other vegetable oils:

According to the USDA, the total world consumption of major vegetable oils in 2000 was:

Soybeans 26.0 million tonnes (MMT)
Palm 23.3 MMT
Rapeseed 13.1 MMT
Sunflowerseed 8.6 MMT
Peanut 4.2 MMT
Cottonseed 3.6 MMT
Palm Kernel 2.7 MMT
Olive 2.5 MMT

Note that these figures include industrial and animal feed use. The vegetable oil most widely used in human nutrition is sunflower seed oil. Palm oil, which is solid at room temperature, is used mainly to produce soaps and cosmetics. The majority of European rapeseed oil production is used to produce biodiesel, or used directly as fuel in diesel cars which are modified to handle the higher viscosity.


  • One can use the "modern" way of processing oil by chemical extraction, using solvent extracts, which produces higher yields and is quicker and less expensive. The most common solvent is petroleum-derived hexane, more commonly known as petroleum ether.
  • Another way is the "physical extraction", that does not use solvent extracts. It is made the "old" way by expeller -pressed mechanical extraction. This method is frequently used to produce cooking oil, since it is preferred by most customers (at least in Europe).

See also

External links

Last updated: 05-10-2005 22:12:58
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04