Sesame oil

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Infobox on Sesame oil
Example of Sesame oil
Sesame oil.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) Density: 0.919 - 0.934 cm 3
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation ventilation = Ventilation must not be carried out under any circumstances, as it would supply fresh oxygen to the cargo, which would promote oxidation processes and premature rancidity.|Ventilation must not be carried out under any circumstances, as it would supply fresh oxygen to the cargo, which would promote oxidation processes and premature rancidity.
Risk factors See text

Sesame oil


Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavour enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine.

The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative medicine – from traditional massages and treatments to the modern day. The traditional Indian medical practice of Ayurveda uses sesame oil to pacify stress related symptoms. Ongoing research also indicates that the rich presence of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats in sesame oil could help control blood pressure.

The oil is popular in Asia and is also one of the earliest known crop-based oils, but world-wide mass modern production continues to be limited even today due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.

Sesame seeds are protected by a capsule which only bursts when the seeds are completely ripe. The ripening time tends to vary, so farmers cut plants by hand and place them together in an upright position to continue ripening until all the capsules have opened.

Sesame seeds are primarily produced in developing countries, a factor that has played a role in limiting the creation of large-scale, fully automated oil extraction and processing techniques. Sesame oil can be extracted by a number of methods, depending on the materials and equipment available. In developing countries, sesame oil is often extracted with less-expensive and manually intensive techniques such as hot water flotation, bridge presses, ram presses, the ghani process, or by using a small-scale expeller. In developed countries sesame oil is often extracted using an expeller press, larger-scale oil extraction machines, or by pressing followed by chemical solvent extraction.

Sesame oil can also be extracted under low-temperature conditions using an expeller press in a process called cold pressing. This extraction method is popular among raw food adherents because it avoids exposing the oil to chemical solvents or high temperatures during extraction.

While some manufacturers will further refine sesame oil through solvent extraction, neutralization and bleaching in order to improve its cosmetic aspects, sesame oil derived from quality seeds already possesses a pleasant taste and does not require further purification before it can be consumed. Many consumers prefer unrefined sesame oil due to their belief that the refining process removes important nutrients.

Sesame oil is one of the more stable natural oils, but can still benefit from refrigeration and limited exposure to light and high temperatures during extraction, processing and storage in order to minimize nutrient loss through oxidation and rancidity. Storage in amber-coloured bottles can help to minimize light exposure.

Sesame oil is polyunsaturated(PUFA) semi-drying oil. Commercial sesame oil varies in colour from light to deep reddish yellow depending on the colour of the seed processed and the method of milling. Provided the oil is milled from well cleaned seed, it can be refined and bleached easily to yield a light coloured limpid oil. Sesame oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acids, which together account for 85% of the total fatty acids. Sesame oil has a relatively high percentage of unsaponifiable matter(1.5-2.3%)in India and in some other countries of Europe. It is obligatory to add sesame oil(5-10%) to margarine and generally to hydrogenated vegetable fats which are commonly used as adulterants for butter or ghee. It had longer shelf life compared to other conventional oils. It is more stable oil as frying oil.

In industry, sesame oil may be used as:

  • a solvent in injected drugs or intravenous drip solutions,
  • a cosmetics carrier oil,
  • coating stored grains to prevent weevil attacks. The oil also has synergy with some insecticides.

Low grade oil is used locally in soaps, paints, lubricants, and illuminants.

Shipment / Storage

Normally, the oil does not need to be heated, since its solidification point is relatively low. However, if ambient temperatures should arise during the voyage which are in the solidification range, the oil must be maintained at the required pumping temperature.

At 4-25°C, the oil has a storage potential of approx. 6 months.

Designation Temperature range
Travel temperature
(favourable temperature range)
15°C (4-25°C.)
Solidification temperature -3 / -6°C.
Pumping temperature approx. 20°C.

For further details on deterioration, contamination, oxidation, transit and handling etc., we may refer to Bulk Oils and Fats

Risk factors

  • Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion
  • Odour
  • Contamination
  • Mechanical influences
  • Toxicity / Hazards to health
  • Shrinkage / Shortage