Wheat, which is an annual plant, has been cultivated since ancient times and has evolved in countless different ways. The wild varieties were already collected 8,000 years ago, after they fell by chance (unintentionally) near the homes of the harvesters, where they took root and later began to grow domestically. Subsequently, the wheat was routinely cultivated and selected according to its specific characteristics (size, solidity, production …). Currently, it is believed that wheat originated in the Eurasian area. It prefers temperate zones and is currently cultivated, on a small scale, in subtropical areas, but not in tropical zones. A distinction is made between summer wheat and winter wheat, the latter being able to withstand frost with temperatures that drop to -22 ° C. Wheat is a demanding cereal that requires a heavy, nutrient-rich soil (black or clayey soil) with large water capacity. Typically, it is grown not only in the former Soviet Union, China, the US, India, Canada, France, Turkey and Germany, but also in Britain and Argentina.
Wheat is a cereal used in the production of bread but oil is of less importance. The wheat nursery contains 7-12% oil, which is obtained by pressing (crude wheat germ oil) or by extraction, and then refined (refined wheat germ oil). At room temperature, the crude wheat germ oil is clear (temperatures during the pressure process can reach close to 60 ° C). At low temperatures, it becomes cloudy when the waxes precipitate. When heating, the process is reversed, without any loss of quality. It is golden yellow to brown, gives off a typical smell of cereals and has a characteristic taste. The refined grade has a yellowish color and gives off a characteristic and weak smell. Both grades of wheat germ oil have approximately equal proportions of palmitic acid and oleic acid. The content of linoleic acid represents approximately between 55-60% and the content of linolenic acid approximately 5-10%.
The content of tocopherol (vitamin E) is quite high, which turns wheat germ oil into a popular dietary oil, although the shelf life is quite short, due to the high content of linoleic acid (rancidity). Wheat germ oil, both crude and refined, is used in the cosmetics industry as a base for ointments and in preparations for skin and hair. In the pharmaceutical market, wheat germ oil is used as a filler for soft gelatin capsules (vitamin E), due to its natural content of active substance.