report on jojoba appears in Agricultural Research.
ARS Researchers Develop New Markets for
Jojoba By Linda
December 5, 2000
Service (ARS) scientists have developed a patented process for extracting
compounds known as simmondsins from jojoba meal. The process helps
detoxify jojoba meal so that it can be fed to animals and, at the
same time, yields the most biologically active simmondsins for use in a new
hunger satiation ingredient.
Jojoba is a native plant of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona,
California and Mexico. Jojoba oil, with an annual cash value of $30 million, is
already a popular ingredient in cosmetics, shampoos and industrial lubricants.
But its meal, left over after oil extraction, until now was believed to be
valueless because it contained toxic compounds, making it unfit for
animal consumption. The meal was usually buried in landfills as waste. Now that
another co-product can be produced from jojoba, U.S. farmers may have one more
reason to plant the new crop.
In the 1980s, when researchers fed weanling mice a diet with 15
percent jojoba meal, the mice ate less and less and lost weight. New research
in the 1990s suggested that the toxic factor was the compound
simmondsin, which stimulates hunger satiation. Once the simmondsins were
extracted from jojoba, the meal containing 25 to 30 percent protein became a
nutritious cattle feed.
In 1999, ARS patented a process for isolating and extracting
simmondsin from jojoba meal. Since then, the researchers have produced large
quantities of simmondsin, which may become a pharmaceutical-grade hunger
satiation ingredient. Marnix Cokelaere with
Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, is conducting animal studies of simmondsin. One
commercial nutritional supplement containing simmondsin is now on the market in
the United States, but further trials are needed before it would be approved as
a pharmaceutical or diet aid.
ARS is the chief scientific research agency for the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A report on jojoba appears in the December issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Scientific contact: Thomas P. Abbott, ARS
National Center for Agricultural
Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill., phone (309) 681-6533,