Avocado oil is obtained from the flesh of the fruit of the Persea americana Miller (Lauraceae) and then refined. The avocado tree is a native of Central America and was described at the time when the Spaniards 'discovered' the continent. The name of this berry fruit (not a Stone fruit) comes from the Aztec name "ahuacatl". Today, this evergreen tree grows mainly in the Mediterranean region, the southern USA and in Southern Africa, reaching a height of 15 m.
The fruit resembles a pear and can weigh as much as 1.5 kg. It does not ripen until it has been picked. The correct time for harvesting is determined by the colour of the fruit or by measuring the fat content. The oil content of dry fruit is 40-80%. There are three different techniques available for obtaining the oil: 1.) by extraction from hard, uncored fruit; 2.) by pulverisation and centrifugation of cored, soft fruit, at a temperature of 90°C; 3.) as under 2.), but without heating (cell walls broken down by enzyme action). The (crude) avocado oil obtained using any of these three methods is green to dark green, gives off a faint, characteristic smell, is mild to taste and is usually refined.
The refined oil is a clear, yellow to pale yellow-green, fatty liquid of low viscosity. It gives off a faint smell and is mild to taste. Avocado oil consists of up to 85% unsaturated fatty acids, the principal acids being palmitic, oleic and linoleic (oleic and palmitic acid in a ratio of approx 3:1). Avocado oil is of little significance as an edible oil in countries where it is cultivated and is actually used solely by the cosmetics industry (creams, skin and care ointments).
INCI Name: Persea Gratissima Oil