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Almond Oil

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ALMOND OIL, the fixed oil termed in the British Pharma copoeia Oleum amygdalae, is obtained from the ground blanched kernels of the fruit of the almond, either by expression or by extraction with a volatile solvent ; the latter process is used in the case of damaged seeds where the residual meal is valueless. The commercial oil is prepared from the kernels of the bitter almond (Prunus arnygdalus, var. amara), or from a mixture of these and the seeds of the sweet variety. Yield from sweet almonds ranges from 5 % ; the bitter variety averages 3 5 % of oil.

The expressed oil is pale yellow in colour and possesses a bland, nutty flavour; the extracted oil is darker and has a harsh taste. Almond oil is used in pharmacy as a vehicle for drugs, and is employed in the preparation of cosmetics. Its scarcity leads to extensive sophistication, the usual adulterants being apricot, plum and peach kernel oils, which closely resemble almond oil.

Oleum amygdalae amarae (essentiale), "ethereal bitter almond oil," is produced by trituration of the oil-free meal of bitter almonds with water. The natural ferment emulsin acting on the . glucoside amygdalin also present in the seed produces a mixture of glucose, benzaldehyde and prussic acid. The distilled product contains up to 5% prussic acid, which is removed by treatment with lime and iron sulphate when the essence is required for flavouring purposes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. See Lewkowitsch, Oils, Fats, and Waxes (1921) ; Bibliography. See Lewkowitsch, Oils, Fats, and Waxes (1921) ; British Pharmacopoeia; U.S. Pharmacopoeia. (E. L.; G. H. W.)

bitter and amygdalae