Quality Assur Safety Crops & Foods., 2021.,

Flaxseed oil: Extraction, health benefits and products

Tang, Z Ying, R-F Lev, B-F et al.


Flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lignans, proteins and dietary fibers, which has been considered as an important food ingredient. As one of most functional ingredients in flaxseed, flaxseed oil could provide many potential health benefits, such as cardiovascular protection, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, live protection, diabetes treatment, etc. Besides mechanical pressing and solvent extraction for flaxseed oil, various new extraction processes, for example, microwave-assisted extraction, supercritical CO2 extraction, subcritical extraction, three-phase partitioning, enzyme-assisted three-phase partitioning, etc., have been investigated. Currently, flaxseed oil has been incorporated into some regular food formulations including liquid or solid powder drink, meat products, baking foods, etc. However, due to high ALA in flaxseed oil, it is a great challenge for the development of flaxseed-oil based products. In present paper, the latest development of the extraction of flaxseed oil, the potential benefits of flaxseed oil, and flaxseed oil-based foods, were reviewed. Regarding the studies of flaxseed oil in our group was also highlighted.

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Key Points

Flaxseed has been used as a dietary supplement. Whole or milled flaxseeds can be conveniently used as additives in dough, batters, and various baked products. Furthermore, flaxseed flour can be served as wheat flour or egg substitute especially in some baked products such as breads, muffins and cookies etc. As one of the main constituents in flaxseed, flaxseed oil is gaining popularity because of the high level of ALA. However, the development of flaxseed oil-based is a challenging work because ALA in flaxseed oil is highly sensitive to external factors, for example, oxygen, light, high temperature. Flaxseed oil is usually stored in dark bottles. Regarding the applications of flaxseed oil in various foods, many studies have been carried out in laboratory scale. Flaxseed oil has been added into many kinds of baked foods, beverages, meat products and many other foods. The authors suggest that investigations should be carried out in the future. Firstly, many consumers do not sufficiently realize the potential advantages of flaxseed oil for health. Secondly, the high value-added flaxseed oil based products are still limited, and should be developed. Thirdly, because of poor stability of ALA in flaxseed oil, application of flaxseed oil in food industry still is facing a great challenge. In order to minimize oil oxidation, many advanced techniques, for example the production technology of nano-emulsion (micro-fluidization, microwave, high power ultrasound etc.), spray drying, etc., should be attempted to protect flaxseed oil, and will further expand the utilization of flaxseed oil.