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BTU British thermal unit
C Celsius
cm Centimetre
deg Degree
ha Hectare
hr Hour
kg Kilogram
km kilometre
m Metre
mt Million tonnes
(n) Refer to bibliography


This document takes the form of a series of monograph" covering twenty three minor edible oil crops and is the result of a desk study carried out in the UK. Some 800 references have been consulted and library/data base searches carried out in the Natural Resources Institute, Kew Gardens, Silsoe College and CAB International. In many, if not, most cases there are considerable gaps in information available on the oils from the crops researched, and this is particularly true of the traditional methods that are used for oil extraction. It is suspected that more, possibly unpublished, data is available in the countries in which the commodities occur.

Some of the commodities covered particularly those of the Curcubitaceae family, it appears, are little used for direct oil extraction. At the rural level the quantity of seed available is unlikely to warrant such activity. They are however of significant importance in the provision of oil in the diet. In many countries the seeds of gourds and pumpkins are collected at the household level and incorporated in foods so providing much needed calories. It is only when large amounts of such materials are processed at one site that sufficient seeds would become available to warrant extraction. One example of this type that was identified was the extraction of passion fruit seed oil for use in medicinal preparations, the seeds being a by-product of a large passion fruit processing plant in Sri Lanka.

Hopefully this document will prompt workers to provide further information and so build up knowledge of what appears to have been a somewhat ignored technical area for many minor oil crops are of vital dietary and economic importance to large numbers of poor people around the world and some it is suggested could prove of much wider application.

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