- Botanical Name: Sesamum indicum
- Family: Pedaliaceae
- Vernacular Names: Til. (Hindi, Mar.), Tal (Guj.), Ellu (Tam.), Nuvvelu (Tel.) Karuthellu (Mal.)
Sesame is one of the oldest oil yielding plants known to man. It is said to be native of Africa with India as a secondary centre. It is now cultivated in all tropical and subtropical countries including Africa, India, Burma, Indo-China, China, Ethiopia, Mexico, Sudan and Venezuela. India is the leading sesame producing country and contributes to about 25% of the total world’s production.
Plant is an annual herb attaining a height of up 2 m. The stem is longitudinally furrowed and densely clothed with hairs. The lower leaves are broad and often lobed and the upper are entire and lanceolate. The flowers are solitary axillary or in groups of two or three. They are bell-shaped and pinkish-white or mauve in colour. The fruit is a bony capsule containing numerous small seeds. The sees are white to brown or black, compressed and some what pear-shaped.
Sesame Producing Areas Sesame flourishes well in hot dry tropics with any annual rainfall of 50-110 cm. The crop prefers light, well drained oil which adequate moisture.
In, India, the crop is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. India ranks first in area under sesame in the world constituting roughly 40% of area and 33% of production of sesame in the world. This amounts to 2,034 thousand hectares under the crop with a production of 618 thousand tons.
Sesame is usually raised as a rain fed kharif crop. It is grown alone or mixed with pearl millet, pulses castor, etc. The soil is prepared by a number of good ploughings followed by harrowing. Seeds are usually sown by broadcast method. They are mixed with sand or manure to facilitate sowing as they are small in size. Seeds germinate within five to eight days. But they fail to germinate if the soil temperature is below 21°C. Heavy rainfall and high humidity are injurious to the crop. The crop requires frost free days to grow and matures within 100-140 days.
Harvesting is usually done when leaves turn yellow and start drooping, but capsules are still greenish. Plants are cut close to the ground with hand sickles. The stems are tied in bundles and dept for drying for about a week on the threshing floor. This allows ripening of seeds-and the seeds fall as they ripen. Threshing can also be done easily by shaking or light beating of plants. Several high-yielding varieties of sesame have been developed and released for specific regions of the Country. B.67, C1, D7-11-1, E8, Gouri, Gujarat Til-1, Haryana Til-1, JT 7, Kanak, KPR-2, Krishna Madhav, Patan-64, and Pratap C 50 are some improved varieties of sesame cultivated in India. OMT-3 is a high yielding (15.46qt/ha) early variety with highly synchronised flowering, and moderately uniform ripening. It is ideally suited for the uplands of Tripura. A new variety, Rajeshwari has been evolved for Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.
Extraction of Oil
Oil content of sees varies from 46 to 52%. The oil is easily extracted by cold pressure. It is expressed by expellers, rotary mills or in village ghanis, Direct solvent extraction methods are also used for commercial extraction.
Properties Sesame Oil
Sesame is semi-drying oil, amber to yellow in colour. The oil contains about 85% unsaturated acids. Oleic acid (37-50 %), linoleic acid (37-47%), palmitic acid (7-9%) and stearic acid (4 – 5%) are principal fatty acids present in the oil. Sesame oil also contains sesamin (0.5 – 1.0%) and sesamolin (0.3 0.5%) which are not found in other fixed oils. On hydrolysis, sesamolin yields sesamol, a powerful antioxidant.
Sesame oil is mainly used for edible purpose. It is an ingredient of confectionery and also used in the manufacture of soaps, cosmetics, hair oils, perfumes, insecticides and pharmaceutical preparations. The oil is highly prized as a carrier or suspending agent for antibiotics, vitamins and steroid hormones.
Oil cake is esteemed as an animal feed. It is also used as a source material or proteins used in glues and for sizing. Sesame cake from dehulled seeds is a source of protein for human consumption. It is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and niacin. Sesame seeds are used in confectionery and baking.
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