Physicochemical Properties, Heavy Metals and Aflatoxin in Sesame Oil: A Review Study

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Departments of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: The present study aimed to review the articles on determining the physicochemical properties of sesame oil in terms of the levels of heavy metals and aflatoxins without geographic restriction. Methods: Literature review was performed via searching databases such as Google Scholar, Pub Med, Science Direct, and SID. Based on properties such as iodine value and fatty acid profile, sesame oil has been reported to be highly unsaturated. In addition, the most important unsaturated fatty acids include oleic acid and linoleic acid, which constitute80-84% of the fatty acids found in sesame oil. The key feature of sesame oil was resistance against oxidative damage despite its high unsaturated fatty acid content. The oxidative stability of sesame oil is caused by the presence of gamma-tocopherol, lignans, and antioxidants (e.g., sesamol, sesamin, and sesamolin). Results: According to the reviewed articles, total aflatoxin level in sesame oil was less than the recommended limit by the European Union(EU) (20 μg/kg), with the exception of the study by Amin et al. (2010), in which total aflatoxin level was reported to be higher than the EU limit. In the reviewed studies, arsenic and lead levels were below the recommended EU limit (0.1 mg/kg). Additionally, the levels of copper and iron were reported to be below the national standard level in Iran (0.4 and 5 mg/kg, respectively). Conclusion: Considering the beneficial properties of sesame oil and its high degree of unsaturation, it is recommended that the levels of heavy metals aflatoxins be monitored regularly to consume this healthy vegetable oil.


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