Corn Oil

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Lipids

Corn oil is a fixed oil obtained by expression of the embryos of Zea mays L., belonging to family Graminae.






Corn oil, maize oil.


Biological Source


Corn oil is a fixed oil obtained by expression of the embryos of Zea mays L., belonging to family Graminae.


Geographical Source


Corn is cultivated throughout the world. The major producers of corn are United States, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Mexico, Thailand, and India. Corn oil is generally obtained as a by-product during the production of Maize starch from the maize germs. The French pharmacopoeia specifies that the corn oil should be obtained from the germs or caryopsis which remains after the removal of major part of the cotyledon.




Refined corn oil is a clear to light golden yellow coloured liquid with a faint characteristic odour and taste. It is slightly soluble in alcohol, miscible with chloroform, ether and light petroleum. Weight per ml is 0.915 to 0.923 g. It can be sterilized by maintaining at 150°C for 1 hr and stored in a cool place in well-filled airtight containers protected from light. Acid value is 2–6; saponification value, 187–96 and iodine value 100 to 133.


                           Zea mays

Chemical Constituents


Dried corn embryo yields around 20% of fixed oil. The fatty acid composition of the corn oil indicates the presence of palmitic, 8–13%; stearic, 1–4.5%; oleic, 24–33%; linoleic 55–62%; linolenic 0.5–1.5% about 0.5% of arachidic, gadoleic, and behenic acids. It shows the presence of about 0.8–2% of unsapoifiable matter containing major proportion of β-sitosterol and compesterol.




Maize oil shows the properties similar to those of olive oil. As the oil consists of higher contents of unsaturated acids, it is regarded as of value in diets designed to limit blood cholesterol level in patients with hypercholesterolemia, particularly following cardiac infarction. The oil has also indicated good results in the patients with coronary heart disease and diabetes. It is used in place of other vegetable oils, in pharmaceuticals and cosmetic preparations.

Marketed Products


Esoban ointment containing maize oil is used for dermatitis and allergic skin conditions.


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