Vegetable oils and animal fats are important ingredients for several different foodstuffs and non-food products. About 80% of the total market of oils and fats is of vegetable origin.
Rapeseed contains 40-46% oil and 20-30% protein. Glucosinolates can be critical for both oil and protein quality. Especially if too high concentrations of these compounds or their degradation products are present in the oil and protein products.
Oil from rapeseed is traditionally produced by a combined process using pressing followed by extraction with organic solvents, like hexane.
Cell wall degrading
The enzymatic process is based on the use of water as solvent and cell wall degrading enzymes to facilitate an easy and mild fractionation of oil, protein and hulls. The oil is found inside plant cells, linked with proteins and a wide range of carbohydrates like starch, cellulose, hemi-cellulose and pectin’s.
Enzymes do the work
The cell content is surrounded by a thick wall which must be opened so the protein and oil can be released. Thus, when opened by enzymatic degradation, downstream processing makes fractionation of the components possible to a degree which cannot be reached when using the conventional technique like pressing and hexane extraction. Seeds for oil extraction could be canola, corn, coconut, sunflower etc.