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Corn oil is oil extracted from the germ of corn (maize). Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Corn oil has a milder taste and is less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils.One bushel of corn contains 1.55 pounds of corn oil (2.8% by weight). Corn agronomists have developed high-oil varieties; however, these varieties tend to show lower field yields, so they are not universally accepted by growers. Refined corn oil is 99% triglyceride, with proportions of approximately 59% polyunsaturated fatty acid, 24% monounsaturated fatty acid, and 13% saturated fatty acid.

Corn oil is also one source of biodiesel. Biodiesel is commonly made from soybean or rapeseed oils, but as corn oil refining technology improves, it is expected to become a greater source of biodiesel and a backup source in case of large-scale soybean crop failures. Other industrial uses for corn oil include soap, salve, paint, rustproofing for metal surfaces, inks, textiles, nitroglycerin, and insecticides. It is sometimes used as a carrier for drug molecules in pharmaceutical preparations.

The first commercial corn oil for cooking purposes was extracted in 1898 and 1899 by machinery invented by Theodore Hudnut and Benjamin Hudnut of the Hudnut Hominy Company of Terre Hautemarker, Indiana, and called "mazoil".

Negative health effects

A high consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in most types of vegetable oil including corn oil, may increase the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer. Similar effect was observed on prostate cancer. Other analysis suggested an inverse association between total polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk.

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