The Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), also called goat nut, is a shrub of the Box family native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Although the seeds have been used as food by Native Americans (the roasted nuts taste and smell like roasted coffee beans), jojoba is mainly valued for the oil derived from the seeds, which contain up to 50% oil by weight.
The oil is unique in that it is a liquid wax, very similar in chemical composition and quality to sperm whale oil. Jojoba oil is used in various cosmetics, soaps and as a lubricant.
There has been renewed interest in its food potential, as a vegetable and salad oil, shortening, and animal food supplement.
It was found that defatted jojoba meal fed to cattle contains a compound known as 'simmondsin' which acts as an appetite suppressent.
In 1999 the USDA ARS (Agricultural Research Service) patented a process for extracting simmondsins from jojoba meal. Additional methods have been patented since then.
Simmondsin is now being used in many diet and appetite suppressant products for both humans and animals including pet food supplements for overweight pets.
Interest in the potential of jojoba meal as an animal feed continues. Finding high value uses for simmondsin would improve the economics of meal extraction and increase the potential that detoxified jojoba meal would be profitable for growers and processors.
Ferulic acid recovery from simmondsin is one research area (2008). Ferulic acid antioxidant properties make it useful in the manufacture of cosmetics and sun care products, in dietary supplements, and numerous medical applications (diabetes, cancer, etc.).
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