Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and supplies more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil. It is a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels.
The seed has up to 50% oil by weight, and, like soybean, the embryo is fairly nutritious for other dietary needs. Sunflower oil is extracted under pressure and with steam, and after oil is extracted from the embryo the remaining solids are formed into seedcake for livestock feed. This livestock feed is high in protein but good mostly for ruminants because it lacks sufficient quantities of the amino acid lysine. Embryos can be ground into oily flour, which is tasty when mixed with wheat flour. Experiments have shown that the hulls (pericarps) of sunflower can be pressed into logs for the fireplace and cooking stoves.
Climate and cultivation aspects
Sunflower, though basically a temperate crop, is adaptable to both cold and warm weather conditions. It requires a cool climate during germination and seedling growth, warm and non-cloudy weather during flowering to seed maturity. Optimum temperature is 20 o to 25 o C but can tolerate up to 30 o C. Sunflower cannot tolerate water logging even for a short period. An important factor that contributes for pollination and seed setting is bee activity; if it is not there to the required level, hand pollination is essential.