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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303366

Research Project: Sunflower Genetic Improvement with Genes from Wild Crop Relatives and Domesticated Sunflower

Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Title: Sunflower

Author
item Seiler, Gerald
item Gulya Jr, Thomas

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2015
Publication Date: 2/4/2016
Citation: Seiler, G.J., Gulya Jr, T.J. 2016. Sunflower: Overview. In: Wrigley, C.W., Corke, H., Seetharaman, K., and Faubion, J., editors. Encyclopedia of Food Grains. 2nd edition. Oxford, UK: Elsevier. p. 247-253.

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower is grown as an oilseed crop worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas in 72 countries and on every continent, except Antarctica. The Ukraine is the largest producer, followed by the Russian Federation, Argentina, China, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary, and the United States. U.S. production accounts for 3 to 5% of the world output. Among oilseeds, sunflower generally ranks fifth behind soybean, rapeseed, cottonseed, and peanut, and is the third largest hybrid crop grown behind corn and sorghum. It is also one of only a few crops (cranberries, blueberries, and pecans are others) to have originated from the United States. Nutritionally, sunflower oil is somewhat superior to other vegetable oils due to the greater proportion of the unsaturated fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and linolenic), and lower saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic), especially in the recently developed mid-oleic content NuSun™ hybrids. Sunflower oil contains zero trans fats, which have been implicated in elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk of coronary heart disease. As the world public becomes more health-conscious, and with the trend to increase label information, consumers are demanding to know what is in a product to make healthy choices. Healthy sunflower oil will benefit from these demands and in turn generate more interest among producers.

Technical Abstract: Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a relatively new crop among the world field crops, grown as an oilseed crop worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas in 72 countries. It is one of only a few crops (cranberries, blueberries, and pecans are others) to have originated from the United States. Sunflower is unique in that it has been bred for distinctly different uses: as an oilseed crop, for confection and birdseed uses, and finally, as an ornamental for home gardens and a colorful array of sunflowers for the cut-flower industry. Nutritionally, sunflower oil is somewhat superior to other vegetable oils due to the greater proportion of the unsaturated fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and linolenic), and lower saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic), especially in the recently developed mid-oleic content NuSun™ hybrids. Sunflower oil contains zero trans fats, which have been implicated in elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk of coronary heart disease. The history of the crop, botany of the genus Helianthus, U.S. production practices, including pest problems, properties and processing of sunflower oil, sunflower byproducts, confectionery sunflower, and future trends are covered.