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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 23:120-121 (article 40) 2000

Production of Cucurbit Seed Oil by Cold Pressing Process in the "Farmaol" Company

Sergy B. Artyomenko

Joint company "Farmaol", P.O. Box 157700, Chelyabinsk, 454091, Russia;;

Leonid N. Chaban, Kalinovaya St. h.30, ap.94, Sochi, 354066, Krasnodar region, Russia:;

Abstract: The cold (actually low-temperature) process of pressing oil from pumpkin, water- and other melon seed for medicinal purposes (RF Pat. No. 2018514) is described. Construction of the press, as well as process temperature profiles employed, are explained. Analyses of the composition of oil pressed by different methods are given. A number of uses of seed-oil for medical, agricultural, and other purposes are discussed.

Key Words: pumpkin (watermelon, melon), cold pressing, seed oil

Introduction: For the production of seed oil of the highest quality for medicinal purposes, compared to oils manufactured for use as foodstuff, special processing technologies are required. These processes must first and foremost, aim at the conservation of all vitamins and biologically active substances or complexes in the oil, even at the expense of taste or the amount of oil yielded by pressing.

For this reason, when oil is to be used for medicinal instead of culinary purposes, consumers prefer oil produced by the so-called cold pressing technology. A special conveying screw press was designed and manufactured by our company, "Farmaol" for this purpose. To begin with, we should like to point out that formerly there were no pumpkins cultivated in Russia that produced :naked" or "hull-less" seeds. Consequently, a very sturdy and powerful oil pressing system had to be constructed since considerably more force is required for the extraction of oils from seeds in their hard shells than from hull-less seeds.

Furthermore, in a layer directly beneath the hull, there are a large number of useful substances, including Santoninum, which has a worm expelling effect or acts as a helminthicide. The initial shelling or dehulling and even the squeezing of the seed both reduce the prophylactic and curative properties of the oil. Thus, while in producing cucurbit oil for medicinal use, a certain loss in quantity is inevitable, yet the higher content of biologically active substances more than compensates for the lower yield.

The technique of "cold pressing": This is the cold-(actually "low-temperature") pressing process for the production of cucurbit-seed oil employed in our plant: selected seed (pumpkin, water- or other melon) previously dried to a moisture content of 7-9%, passes through a special vibrating screen equipped with magnetic "traps". The screen retains extraneous matter above seed size, while the magnetic traps catch small metal objects that inadvertently got into the seed. From the screen, the seed is discharged onto a large-surface tray for final sorting. This step is performed manually, since, in our opinion, this is the only way to assure the premium quality of our oils. Then, the bulk seed, while continuously being agitated and mixed, passes through the first heating chamber within 1 to 3 minutes. In this chamber, temperatures of 130˚C to 140˚C are maintained. This step kills the microflora on the surface of the seed hull, while the temperature of the seed itself in this short period remains below 50˚ or 60˚C. Then, the seed passes through a second screw-conveyor section up to 80 m in length, where, within 40 to 50 minutes, the final drying phase is completed.

The temperature in this chamber is maintained at 60˚C. Then the seed is pre-pressed (the hulls are cracked and crushed), followed by the final pressing in a screw press at low revolutions (n<l/sec), and at a pressure of more than 100 megapascal. The output ratio varies from 20 up to 30%, depending on the kind of seed and quality of oil required. For culinary purposes the oil can be subjected to higher temperatures, and in this case the yield ratio may be as high as 45%.

Medicinal and biological applications of seed oils derived from the cucurbit family: A comparison of oil produced by the "cold pressing process" described above with oils obtained by the traditional method, which involves crushing and pan-toasting of the seed in order to increase the yield, shows that the cold-pressing method (RF Pat. No. 2018514) produces an oil with higher contents of the desirable components than obtained by the traditional method. The oil contains 1.5 to 2 times more palmitic acid and tocopherols, 3 to 4 times more carotins and 1.2 times more linoleic acid. The content of oleic and stearic acid is lowered 1.2 to 4 times.

Our oil is suitable for the treatment of diseases of the prostate gland, the cholepoietic system, colelithiasis, some renal diseases (there is a relevant Russian patent: "The stimulation of filtrational and excretory functions of the kidney," co-author of this patent is L. Chaban). The main uses of pumpkin-seed oil lie in the treatment of diseases of the liver, in particular toxic liver failure. The essence of the research in which we participated was finding agents constituting an alternative to the famous drug "ESSENTIALE." Experimental and clinical tests confirmed that the specific balance of the basic biological components (tocopherols, sterols, carotinols) as well as linoleic, oleic, palmitic acids, have a characteristic effect on cell structure in the case of toxic hepatitis. It is conceivable that the positive effect is achieved by a high concentration of tocopherols and unsaturated fatty acids canceling their failure to remedy fatty dystrophy. Fatty dystrophy in toxic hepatitis is a rapidly progressing accumulation of fat, caused by fat from storage tissues being transferred to the liver, concurrent with a reduction of triglycerides in this organ. An experiment was performed on white rats infected with toxic hepatitis. Hepatotropic tetrachlorocarbontoxin (CC14) was administered at a ratio of 620 mg/kg. Results of the experiment proved that for rats fed pumpkin seed oil all functions of the liver were restored. It is important to note that all changes occurred without any changes in weight and in the microstructure of the organ. These results led to the recognition of the liver-protecting properties of pumpkin-seed oil and to the granting of a patent (RF Pat. No.2001620) on the discovery of the medication "Hepatoprotector" (co-author L. Chaban), a product opening up new vistas.

Uses of Press Cake: As it is discharged from the press, the dry press cake is broken down by a special shovel attached to the screw. Subsequently, it is bagged and used as an additive to cattle and poultry feed. An increased rate of reproduction has been reported for hogs and poultry fed this kind of press cake. Moreover, cat and dog owners use this waste product to worm their pets. Such bio-additives are, in our opinion, also quite valuable for human consumption.

An unexpected use of this by-product was discovered by fisherman. They have been utilizing the press cake as bait for a long time, but kept this knowledge secret. We only know that they follow some roasting procedures and check the quality by smell. Then it will be pulverized and sieved. The bait is prepared immediately before use by adding water and stirring carefully. The mass should stick together slightly when squeezed. Finally a cereal and clay are added.

Acknowledgements: We thank all of our workers for their patience and work. We should like to express gratitude to our main designers Gennadij Shipilov and Victor Rechecalov for their dedication to the idea of how to press oil from all kinds of seeds or nuts that can be found on our planet, and for their independent and original way of thinking, which has helped us to turn our ideas into patents. Our special gratitude is expressed to our lovely co-workers Tanya Ponomareva, Gayla and Nastya Artyomenko, Marina Gostuhina. Without them our work would be grey and monotonous.

We feel special gratitude for Penny Lichtenecker, the American from Vienna, austria, who has encouraged and supported us in making international contacts. She is still continuing to patiently incorporate us into the international community of cucurbit workers.

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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 21 April, 2008