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Oil Seeds

Plant oils are usually derived from the seeds of the plants. Oils are rich in energy, and thus make a very good source of fuel for germinating seedlings. Listed below are some common oil seeds that can be used in biofuel production, as well some information on their oil composition. Click on the thumbnails on the right to view detailed images of the seeds.

Jatropha curcas

The seeds of the Jatropha plant are ovoid-oblong in shape, with a diameter of approximate 1 cm and a length of approximately 2 cm. The oil content of Jatropha is 35-40% in seeds and 50-60% in kernel, and the oil contains about 21% unsaturated fatty acids. The seeds are poisonous if ingested without any prior treatment.

Additional Reference: Physic Nut: Jatropha curcas L. by Joachim Heller

Jatropha curcas seeds.

Sesamum indicum (Sesame)

Sesame seeds are tiny, being approximately 2 mm in length, and contain 48-55% oil. The main fatty acids in the seeds are oleic and linoleic acids, each of which are present at a concentration of approximately 40%. Saturated fatty acids make up about 14%, with the majority being palmitic and stearic acids. One major characteristic of sesame oil is it very high content of unsaponifiable matter, which contain sesamin and sesamoline. Because of its powerful antioxidant and because triply unsaturated fatty acids are missing, sesame oil has an excellent shelf life.
Sesame seeds.

Glycine max (Soybean)

The oil content of soybean varies from between 14% to 23%. It contains a high amount of linoleic acid (50-60%) , with oleic acid content varying from 16-25%, and linolenic acid of 6-8%. Soybean seeds have about 15% saturated fatty acids. Soybean oil also contains relatively large amounts of nonglyceride material (such as phospholipids at 2-3% concentration), which are removed during refining.

Soybean seeds for biodiesel.