Elemental Analysis Of Some Element Content In Linseed Oil

This work is on elemental analysis of some element content in linseed oil. Linseed oil is a kind of biomass with high edible and medical value.

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This work is on elemental analysis of some element content in linseed oil. Linseed oil is a kind of biomass with high edible and medical value. It is rich in many kinds of nutrients and mineral elements. In order to explore the main characteristic constituents of mineral elements and fatty acids in Linseed oil, the study of analyzing the mineral elements and fatty acid composition from 10 different regions was carried out. The contents of seventeen kinds of mineral elements in Linseed oil were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The contents of fatty acids of the Linseed oil obtained under the same conditions were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (GC-MS). The principal component analysis (PCA) method was applied to the study of analyzing the mineral elements and fatty acid compositions in flaxseeds. The difference in mineral elements and fatty acids of Linseed from different regions were discussed. The main characteristic constituents of mineral elements and fatty acids were analyzed. The results showed that K, Sr, Mg, Ni, Co, Cr, Cd, Se, Zn and Cu were the main characteristic constituents of the mineral elements. At the same time, C16:0, C18:0, C18: 2, C18:3, C20:0 and C20:1 were the main characteristic constituents of the fatty acids. The combination of ICP-MS, GS-MS and PCA can reveal the characteristics and difference of mineral elements and fatty acids from different regions. The results would provide important theoretical basis for the reasonable and effective utilization of flaxseed.





















1.0                                                        INTRODUCTION

Linseed oil, is a colourless to yellowish oil obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). The oil is obtained by pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction. Linseed oil is a drying oil, meaning it can polymerize into a solid form. Due to its polymer-forming properties, linseed oil can be used on its own or blended with combinations of other oils, resins or solvents as an impregnator, drying oil finish or varnish in wood finishing, as a pigment binder in oil paints, as a plasticizer and hardener in putty, and in the manufacture of linoleum. Linseed oil use has declined over the past several decades with increased availability of synthetic alkyd resins—which function similarly but resist yellowing.

Linseed oil is an edible oil in demand as a nutritional supplement, as a source of α-Linolenic acid, (an omega-3 fatty acid). In parts of Europe, it is traditionally eaten with potatoes and quark. It is regarded as a delicacy due to its hearty taste, which enhances the flavour of quark, which is otherwise bland.

1.1                                               OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objective of this work is to analyze the difference in mineral elements and fatty acids of Linseed. In this work difference in mineral elements and fatty acids of Linseed from different regions were discussed. The main characteristic constituents of mineral elements which is fatty acids were analyzed.

1.2                                                       USES LINSEED OIL

Clinical studies suggest that flaxseed oil and other omega-3 fatty acids may help treat a variety of conditions.

High cholesterol

People who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to have an increased HDL (good) cholesterol level. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil, and has a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Whole grains, root and green vegetables, daily portions of fruit, fish and poultry, olive and canola oils, and ALA (from flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and walnuts) are also part of the Mediterranean diet. Red meat and saturated fats are not part of the diet.

However, whether taking supplements of linseed or linseed oil helps lower cholesterol is up for debate. Some small studies show it has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, but one double blind study found no evidence that it lowered cholesterol.

Heart disease

Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts or legumes, and ALA-rich foods may substantially reduce the recurrence of heart disease. One of the best ways to help prevent and treat heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated and trans fat and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and fish). Evidence suggests that people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. ALA may reduce heart disease risk through a variety of ways, including making platelets less “sticky”, reducing inflammation, promoting blood vessel health, and reducing risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).

Several human studies also suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA, may lower blood pressure.

However, it is not clear whether taking linseed oil as a supplement would have the same effect on heart health.

Sjogren’s syndrome

Preliminary evidence suggests that taking 1 to 2 g of linseed per day can improve the symptoms of dry eye in people with Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks glands in the body that produce moisture like salivary and tear glands.


Studies suggest that linseed oil may help prevent the growth of breast tumors. In one Canadian Study, researchers discovered that linseed oil prevented breast tumor growth, likely through ALA content. People with breast cancer should not take any nutritional supplement without their doctor’s approval.


Studies show that daily use of linseed and linseed oil are as effective as mineral oil in treating constipation.

Dietary Sources

Linseed oil comes from the seed of the flax plant. It contains 50 to 60% omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). That is more than is contained in fish oil. But the body is not very efficient at converting ALA into the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils. So ALA from linseed may not have the same benefits as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil.

1.2                                          APPLICATIONS OF LINSEED OIL

Most applications of linseed oil exploit its drying properties, i.e., the initial material is liquid or at least pliable and the aged material is rigid but not brittle. The water-repelling (hydrophobic) nature of the resulting hydrocarbon-based material is advantageous.

Paint binder

Linseed oil is a common carrier used in oil paint. It can also be used as a painting medium, making oil paints more fluid, transparent and glossy. It is available in varieties such as cold pressed, alkali refined, sun bleached, sun thickened, and polymerised (stand oil). The introduction of linseed oil was a significant advance in the technology of oil painting.


Traditional glazing putty, consisting of a paste of chalk powder and linseed oil, is a sealant for glass windows that hardens within a few weeks of application and can then be painted over. The utility of putty is owed to the drying properties of linseed oil.

Wood finish

When used as a wood finish, linseed oil dries slowly and shrinks little upon hardening. Linseed oil does not cover the surface as varnish does, but soaks into the (visible and microscopic) pores, leaving a shiny but not glossy surface that shows off the grain of the wood. A linseed oil finish is easily repaired, but it provides no significant barrier against scratching. Only wax finishes are less protective. Liquid water penetrates a linseed oil finish in mere minutes, and water vapour bypasses it almost completely. Garden furniture treated with linseed oil may develop mildew. Oiled wood may be yellowish and is likely to darken with age. Because it fills the pores, linseed oil partially protects wood from denting by compression.

Linseed oil is a traditional finish for gun stocks, though very fine finish may require months to obtain. Several coats of linseed oil is the traditional protective coating for the raw willow wood of cricket bats; it is used so that the wood retains some moisture. New cricket bats are coated with linseed oil and knocked to perfection so they last longer. Linseed oil is also often used by billiards or pool cue-makers for cue shafts, as a lubricant/protectant for wooden recorders, and used in place of epoxy to seal modern wooden surfboards. Additionally, a luthier may use linseed oil when reconditioning a guitar, mandolin, or other stringed instrument’s fret board; lemon-scented mineral oil is commonly used for cleaning, then a light amount of linseed oil (or other drying oil) is applied to protect it from grime that might otherwise result in accelerated deterioration of the wood.


Boiled linseed oil is used as sizing in traditional oil gilding to adhere sheets of gold leaf to a substrate (parchment, canvas, Armenian bole, etc.) It has a much longer working time than water-based size and gives a firm smooth surface which is adhesive enough in the first 12–24 hours after application to cause the gold to attach firmly to the intended surface.


Linseed oil is used to bind wood dust, cork particles, and related materials in the manufacture of the floor covering linoleum. After its invention in 1860 by Frederick Walton, linoleum, or ‘lino’ for short, was a common form of domestic and industrial floor covering from the 1870s until the 1970s when it was largely replaced by PVC (‘vinyl’) floor coverings. However, since the 1990s, linoleum is on the rise again, being considered more environmentally sound than PVC. Linoleum has given its name to the printmaking technique linocut, in which a relief design is cut into the smooth surface and then inked and used to print an image. The results are similar to those obtained by woodcut printing.

Nutritional supplement and food

Linseed oil is easily oxidized, and rapidly becomes rancid, with an unpleasant odour, unless refrigerated. Even when kept under cool conditions, it has a shelf life of only a few weeks. Oil with an unpleasant or rancid odor should be discarded. Oxidation of linseed oil is a major commercial concern, and antioxidants may be added to prevent rancidification. Linseed oil is not generally recommended for use in cooking, yet one study does show that the alpha linolenic acid (ALA) while bound in flaxseed was found to be stable for cooking. When bound to linseed ALA can withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees F (176.67 C) for two hours.

Food-grade linseed oil is cold-pressed, obtained without solvent extraction, in the absence of oxygen, and marketed as edible linseed oil. Fresh, refrigerated and unprocessed, linseed oil is used as a nutritional supplement and is a traditional European ethnic food, highly regarded for its hearty taste. It contains the highest level of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA among vegetable oils. Regular linseed oil contains between 52% and 63% ALA (C18:3 n-3). Plant breeders have developed linseed with both higher ALA (70%) and very low ALA content (< 3%).The USFDA granted generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status for high alpha linolenic linseed oil.

1.4                                               SIDE EFFECTS LINSEED OIL

Linseed oil is among the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (to be more specific, omega-3 alpha linolenic acid). This oil is found to have considerable amounts of vitamin E, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and various phytonutrients. Being a good source of nutrients, linseed oil has been promoted as a nutritional supplement. While the use of linseed oil is surging steadily, most of the users are ignorant of the possible side effects of this product.

Though, linseed oil is said to have various health benefits, it is also contended that the nutritional value of this oil is much lesser, as compared to the whole seeds. Here is a compilation of some of the possible linseed oil side effects, some of which could be serious.

  • One of the common, but less bothersome side effects of linseed oil is loose stools that may sometimes lead to diarrhea. This side effect is often associated with slightly higher doses. Linseed side effects like bloating and flatulence is not usually seen in linseed oil users as the latter product has meager fiber content.
  • Some of the linseed oil users may develop serious allergic reactions with symptoms like rash, hives, itching, swelling, breathing problems, wheezing, etc.
  • Linseed oil side effects include bleeding problems, as it may adversely affect the blood clotting ability of the body. It could be like brain hemorrhage (causing symptoms like, headache, numbness and tingling in limbs, vision problems, etc.) or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract (causes reddish or black tarry stools/vomiting blood). Some people may experience easy bruising or cuts that bleed for long.
  • Though alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is healthy, in some cases, it does not get converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that are readily absorbed by the body. This is mostly seen in people with medical conditions like diabetes. It is said that in normal cases too, only 1% of the total omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (in linseed oil) gets converted into EPA during metabolism.
  • Linseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and research suggests that diets high in ALA from meat and dairy may increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, this does not seem to apply to plant-based ALA, such as that found in flaxseed oil.
  • Linseed oil side effects include possible drug interactions. Those who are taking blood thinning medications should should not use linseed oil or flaxseed oil (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) or other omega-3 fatty acids without first talking to your health care provider. This applies to other types of drugs like, blood sugar lowering ones, NSAIDs, medication for lowering blood cholesterol, cyclosporine, etc. Avoid using linseed oil, if you are taking laxatives.
  • You shouldn’t use linseed oil to cook since the heat changes the healthy fat into toxic fat that causes harm. Instead, most people find that adding the oil to a dish that’s already cooked can enhance the flavor and add many beneficial nutrients to the diet.
  • Linseed oil is found to turn rancid (due to oxidization), once it is exposed to light or air. Do not expose the oil to light or air, if it turns rancid the oil is not healthy to consume. Store in a dark cool place, and always make sure it is properly sealed.
  • Linseed oil contain phytoestrogens that may act like the original hormone (estrogen), in the body. So, it should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with hormonal imbalance. Others too must use this product in moderation. Animal studies have indicated that linseed oil intake during pregnancy may affect the fetus. It is unknown whether it would have the same effects on humans since no human studies have been made. Others however claim that it’s safe to consume linseed oil in normal amounts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Because there are contradictory statements about the safety of linseed oil, it is always best to talk with your healthcare provider before consuming linseed oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Immature flaxseed pods can cause poisoning. Uncooked flaxseed also contains very small amounts of cyanide compounds, especially when consumed raw. Heat, especially on dry flaxseeds, breaks these compounds down. (However, our bodies have a capacity to neutralize a certain amount of these compounds, and the U.S. government agencies say that 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (~3 T of flax meal) is certainly safe and is probably an “effective dose” for health purposes. Various researchers who have used up to 6 daily tablespoons of the seed in different studies indicate that the amount they were using was safe.) If you want to reap the benefits of flaxseed without the risk of toxicity, consider using flax or linseed oil. Once flaxseed is pressed into oil, the cyanogenic glycosides become inactive.

While some studies support these above side effects, others reject them. So, it is always better to use linseed oil, as per the advice of your doctor. It is highly important to stick to the prescribed doses. Most of the possible linseed oil side effects are said to be caused by high doses. So, moderate use is always recommended.


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