Cottonseed oil

Cottonseed oil
Mississippi Cottonseed Oil Co. seed house, Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Cottonseed oil is a cooking oil extracted from the seeds of cotton plant of various species, mainly Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium herbaceum. Cotton grown for oil extraction is one of the big four genetically modified crops grown around the world, next to soy, corn, and rapeseed (canola), mostly Monsanto products.[1][2]

The cottonseed has a similar structure to other oilseeds such as sunflower seed, having an oil bearing kernel surrounded by a hard outer hull; in processing, the oil is extracted from the kernel. Cottonseed oil is used for salad oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and similar products because of its flavor stability.[3] The cottonseed oil undergoes intensive treatment after extraction to reduce the level of gossypol found in untreated cottonseed oil, the consumption of which may produce undesirable side-effects.[4]



Its fatty acid profile generally consists of 70% unsaturated fatty acids including 18% (13% - 44%) monounsaturated (oleic), and 52% (33.1%-60.1%) polyunsaturated (linoleic & linolenic).[5]

Cottonseed oil is described by scientists as being "naturally hydrogenated" because the saturated fatty acids it contains are the natural myristic, palmitic, and (predominantly) stearic acids. These fatty acids make it a stable frying oil without the need for additional processing or the formation of trans fatty acids. Cotton seed oil is not required to be as fully hydrogenated for many purposes as some of the more polyunsaturated oils. On partial hydrogenation, the amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids actually increase. When hydrogenated to a typical iodine value of about 80, for example, its fatty acid profile shifts to 50% monounsaturated, 21% polyunsaturated, and 29% saturated, which are all well within current diet/health guidelines.[3]

Gossypol is a toxic yellow polyphenolic compound produced by cotton and other members of the order Malvaceae, such as okra.[6] This coloured compound is found in tiny glands in the seeds, leaf, stem, tap root bark, and root of the cotton plant. The adaptive function of the compound is believed to be one of facilitating insect resistance. Further, gossypol[Gossypol 1] acts as a male and female contraceptive. It may be used to treat gynaecological problems and viral infections. In addition, global cotton seed production can potentially provide the protein requirements for half a billion people per year. Work is under way to find a viable solution to the gossypol[Gossypol 2] problem.

The three key steps of refining, bleaching and deodorization that are involved in producing finished oil act to reduce the gossypol level. Ferric chloride is often used to decolorize cotton seed oil.[7]


Cottonseed oil is under scrutiny by some nutritionists, who deem it too high in saturated fat and too low in monounsaturated fat.[8] Detractors say that cottonseed oil may contain natural toxins and unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues, since "cotton is not classified as a food crop, and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it."[8] The natural toxin, gossypol, is eliminated in the refining process of commercially edible cottonseed oil, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has documented the ‘lack of appreciable residues in cottonseed and cottonseed oil.’[9] Cottonseed oil has traditionally been used in foods such as potato chips and is a primary ingredient in Crisco, the shortening product.[10] But since it is significantly less expensive than olive oil or canola oil, cottonseed has started to creep into a much wider range of processed foods, including cereals, breads and snack foods. Products that say "may contain one or more of these oils" and list cottonseed, virtually always contain it.[11] Cottonseed oil resists rancidity and therefore offers a longer shelf life for food products in which it is an ingredient.

Physical properties

Once processed, cottonseed oil has a mild taste and appears generally clear with a light golden color, the amount of color depending on the amount of refining.[12] Cottonseed oil has a relatively high smoke point as a frying medium. Like other long-chain fatty acid oils, cottonseed oil has a smoke point of about 450 °F (232 °C).[6] Cottonseed oil is high in tocopherols which also contribute its stability giving products that contain it a long shelf life, hence manufacturers' proclivity to use it in packaged goods.


  1. ^ "Reports on GM Canola".  from the Australian Department of Primary Industries.
  2. ^ "Australian Department of Primary Industries homepage". 
  3. ^ a b "Twenty Facts About Cottonseed Oil". National Cottonseed Products Association. 
  4. ^ "Low potassium levels from use of Gossypol linked to paralysis". International Family Planning Perspectives 7 (1): 24–25. 1981. doi:10.2307/2947696. JSTOR 2947696. "Gossypol, a male antifertility agent derived from the cotton plant, may be the cause of hypokalemic paralysis in a small but significant proportion of its users." 
  5. ^ "The Chemical and Functional Properties of Cottonseed Oil as a Deep-Fat Frying Medium". PhD Thesis, Darla Rachelle Daniel, Texas Tech University. 
  6. ^ a b Jones, Lynn A.; King, C. Clay (1996). "Cottonseed oil". In Y. H. Hui (ed.). Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products, Edible Oil and Fat Products: Oils and Oilseeds. New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-59426-0. 
  7. ^ "Research abstract: Southern Regional Research Laboratory". 
  8. ^ a b Dr. Andrew Weil. "Why you should avoid cottonseed oil?". Q & A Library. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Edible Fats and oils: basic principles and modern practices, Daivd R. Erickson
  10. ^ "Ingredient facts". 
  11. ^ "Cottonseed oil use on the rise". cotton 
  12. ^ "Cottonseed oil". National Cottonseed Products Association. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  1. ^ "Gossypol". Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Engineering cottonseed for use in human nutrition by tissue-specific reduction of toxic gossypol. June 27, 2006. doi:10.1073/pnas.103.48.18054. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cottonseed oil — A fixed, semidrying oil extracted from cottonseed. It is pale yellow when pure (sp. gr., .92 .93). and is extensively used in soap making, in cookery, and as an adulterant of other oils. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cottonseed oil — noun edible oil pressed from cottonseeds • Hypernyms: ↑vegetable oil, ↑oil • Substance Holonyms: ↑cottonseed * * * noun : a semidrying fatty oil that is obtained from cottonseed by expression or solvent extraction, is pale yellow after refining,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cottonseed Oil Assistance Program — The Cottonseed Oil Assistance Program (COAP), along with the Sunflower Oil Assistance Program (SOAP), was one of two programs that awarded bonuses to exporters to assist in exports of U.S. vegetable oil to targeted markets. Funds for the programs …   Wikipedia

  • cottonseed oil — The refined fixed oil obtained from the seed of cultivated plants of various varieties of Gossypium hirsutum or of other species of Gossypium (family Malvaceae); a solvent. * * * cot·ton·seed oil kät ən .sēd n a fatty oil that is obtained from… …   Medical dictionary

  • cottonseed oil — cot′tonseed oil n. an oil obtained from cottonseed: used in the manufacture of soaps, hydrogenated fats, and in cookery …   From formal English to slang

  • cottonseed oil — noun Date: 1833 a pale yellow semidrying fatty oil that is obtained from the cottonseed and is used chiefly in salad and cooking oils and after hydrogenation in shortenings and margarine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cottonseed oil — noun A pale yellow vegetable oil extracted from cottonseed; used in salad dressings, margarine etc …   Wiktionary

  • cottonseed oil — a brown yellow, viscid oil with a nutlike odor, obtained from the seed of the cotton plant: used in the manufacture of soaps, hydrogenated fats, lubricants, and cosmetics, as a cooking and salad oil, and in medicine chiefly as a laxative. [1825… …   Universalium

  • cottonseed oil — /ˌkɒtnsid ˈɔɪl/ (say .kotnseed oyl) noun a brown yellow viscid oil, with a nut like smell, obtained from the seed of the cotton plant, used in pharmacology and as an oil for salad dressing …  

  • Cottonseed oil — Хлопковое масло …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

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