Amaranth grain is a gluten free, non grass but cereal like grain. There are seventy species of amaranth grain. Amaranth grain is nearly spherical, approximately 1 mm in diameter, varies in color from cream yellow to reddish.
The Amaranth grain is mainly composed of about 60%-75% carbohydrates(mostly starch), 13-21% crude protein, 5.5-10.9% crude fat, 2.7-5% crude fiber, 2.5-4.4% ash, 8% moisture. The fat content of amaranth oil is usually two to three times higher than cereals. Supercritical Co2 is used for extraction of oil and squalene from amaranth grain. Increasing the flow rate of SC Co2 above 2l/ min increases the oil yield and extraction rate. Effects of pressure and temperature on squalene yield of 0.31 g per 100 g of grain is obtained in 50 Celsius and 200 bars. And oil yield under this condition was low 2 g oil per 100 g grain.
Squalene is a triterpene present in the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. It is intermediate molecule of the biosynthesis of phytosterols and cholesterol. The mail source of squalene are whale and shark liver oil (40-80%). Due to the concern about the extinction of marine animals attempts are made for ethical sources like plant source.
Amaranth grain is one of the natural source of squalene which is least processed. Other sources like palm oil, olive oil are highly processed sources and sugarcane is synthetic source. Although Amaranth grains are low in oil content than the other oil seeds it is rich in squalene. Squalene is a lipid produced naturally by our skin cells but the amount is production in body declines with age. As a result skin becomes dry and rough.
Animal and plant squalene are too unstable to be used in skin care. So, they are hydrogenated into squalane which is a stable form of the molecule. Squalane is beneficial for skin and hair. For skin squalane boosts hydration and helps skin appear more vibrant and healthier. The antioxidants in these oils and cream also fights skin damage and free radical. Regular use of squalane boosts collagen and slows aging. For hair- moisturizes our hair and helps increase shine and prevent breakage . Squalane replenish hair Strands and protect hair from further damage. Apart from this Amaranth oil can be used in pharmacy as a adjuvant vaccine or supplements. Adjuvant vaccines are substance which are used with vaccine to create a strong immune responses.
Amaranth oil is natural, vegan source of squalene. Squalene is mainly used in cosmetics. Different cosmetics products need different content of Amaranth oil. Other than this Amaranth oil is rich in linolenic acid, omega 6 and vitamin C. Amaranth is rich in protein, Fibers and secondary metabolites. In foods amaranth oil is used for salad dressings.
Amaranth is dry and drought tolerant still have a lot of application in industries. Due to this character of Amaranth, farmers from dry and drought regions can grow amaranth. This can be a source of livelihood for them.