• Lecithin Food

Industrial Uses of Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is the second-most popular type of lecithin for industrial use. It’s preferred mainly by health experts and nutritionists because it’s completely organic and preserves all its nutrients. But when you think about Sunflower lecithin what possible use can you think of other than it being a preservative? 

Despite it being a mainstay in the manufacturing industries of various types for decades, people are still not sure of what sunflower lecithin has to offer. Well, in this blog, we are specifically discussing the different industrial applications of sunflower lecithin.

Various Industrial Uses of Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin has varying applications due to its unique properties. It has been used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, softener, flavour enhancer, blending agent, and even a preservative. Some of its known industrial applications are:

Pharmaceutical Applications

In granulated form, sunflower lecithin is widely used as a health supplement. According to a recent study by a biotechnological hub in Japan, sunflower lecithin is as beneficial and functional as any organic dietary supplement. It is also added to many diabetic medicines and neural booster vitamins.

Many fertility vitamins that help with the reproduction process also carry sunflower lecithin. As do cholesterol-decreasing medicines. 

Food Applications

Sunflower lecithin is generally known to be used in the food industry. The ingredient is a mainstay in commercial baking recipes and instant foods for its emulsification and stabilizing properties. It is present in instant soups, instant coffee, processed milk, confectionaries, and processed milk powder.

Animal Feed

You may not know, but sunflower lecithin is also used in the production of animal feed because of its instantizing capabilities and choline presence. It is also a major source of essential fatty acids for many animals. Sunflower lecithin is also safe for the consumption of sick animals. In its oil-free or powdered form, sunflower lecithin is used to improve the consistency and texture of the animal feed which also makes it more chewable. 

Not only that, but animals also need phospholipids which are needed for boosting the metabolism and the consumption and absorption of dietary fats. Sunflower lecithin adds those phospholipids to the feed. 

Application in Cosmetics & Beauty Products

The cosmetics industry is also amongst the top consumers of sunflower lecithin because of its emollient properties. It is mixed in different makeup products, specifically in foundations and setting powders to maintain the smoothness and softness of the skin. Sunflower lecithin is also a hydrating agent that helps the skin to breathe and stay moisturised for a long period of time.

The phospholipids in sunflower lecithin also attract water particles from the air, which automatically soften the skin and make it glow. In most cases, it is used in anti-ageing creams and other similar products manufactured to soften mature or dry skin. Since creams can easily dissolve in the skin, those having sunflower lecithin also provide the skin with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Extracting the Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin carries some properties that are exclusive to it only, owing to its extraction method. The process begins by carefully picking sunflower kernels that are oil-enriched. These kernels are then dehydrated and separated into three by-products i.e. oil, solids, and gums.

The gums then undergo cold pressing. Once the extraction is done, it is transformed into either powder, liquid, granules, or gel forms. As stated, depending on the industry and use, each of these forms can easily be incorporated. Furthermore, some industries carry out more processes with the liquid form for specific applications, making it fractionated, hydrolysed, acetylated, and hydroxylated.

The manufacturing plants for sunflower lecithin are usually found in countries that are rich in sunflowers. These include Argentina, Russia, and Ukraine to name a few. There has been, however, a shortage of sunflower lecithin since the Russia-Ukraine war started. The good news is, that LECITEIN has an ample stock of sunflower lecithin that can be shipped to every nook and cranny of the world.

Properties of Sunflower Lecithin

Numerous functional and technical properties make sunflower lecithin a priority for most industries around the world. Some of these are listed below:

Mixes Insoluble Liquids

Some solvents don't combine because of different densities, like water and oil. Sunflower lecithin helps in mixing such solvents quite easily by reducing their viscosity.

Helps with Even Distribution

You may have seen some sort of powder being instantly dissolved in a liquid, but have you wondered why that happens? It’s because of the presence of lecithin in that powder. It allows even and quick distribution of solute.

It’s a Catalyst for Baking

Sunflower lecithin also acts as a catalyst that helps in boosting a process, particularly during baking. It is used to mix many types of dough for softness, better raising, and lowering its stickiness.

Minimizes Crystallization

Another property of lecithin is that it decreases the crystallisation process of starch which prevents any food product from staling. It also increases the shelf life specifically of baked goods.

Moreover, it also helps in slowing down the recrystallization process. For example, to make chocolate sweeter, in addition to sugar, most manufacturers mix sunflower lecithin in it so that the sugar doesn't crystallize again or release its water content which could result in melting the chocolate.

Wrapping Up

Sunflower lecithin is known for its hydrating and dissolving capabilities which makes it the initial choice for most industries as compared to lecithin from other resources. With a simple extraction process, this lecithin is available in different forms for different types of uses. You can find sunflower lecithin in almost every product from your vitamin supplements and moisturizers to instant noodles and chocolates.

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