Camelina oil and its unusual cholesterol content

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The oil in Camelina sativa L. Crantz has a combined linolenic and linoleic acid content that is greater than 50% and a relatively low saturated FA content (∼10%). Although the FA composition has been reported, no information is available on the sterol composition of camelina oil. The derivatized plant sterols were separated and quantified with capillary GC and their identity confirmed with GC-MS. The refined camelina oil sample contained approximately 0.54 wt% unsaponifiables, and over 80% of the unsaponifiables were desmethylsterols. Perhaps the most unusual characteristic of camelina oil is its relatively high content of cholesterol, particularly for a vegetable oil, since it contains several times the cholesterol found in other “high-cholesterol” vegetable oils. Camelina oil also contains relatively large amounts of another unusual sterol, brassicasterol. The major sterols identified in the camelina oil included cholesterol (188 ppm), brassicasterol (133 ppm), campesterol (893 ppm), stigmasterol (103 ppm), sitosterol (1,884 ppm), and Δ5-avenasterol (393 ppm).