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Thesis Summary


          Evaluation Of Mustard Oil As A Health Oil In Rat Model

Subject : Toxicology
Name of the student : Parul Batra
Department : Department of Medical Elementology   and Toxicology,Faculty of Science
Name of the supervisor : Dr. Fakhrul Islam
Source of Funding : Council of Scientific and Industrial   Research (CSIR), Govt. of India
Co- supervisor
: Dr. Anees A. Siddiqui
Date of Viva Voce : 30th July 2003


         The aim to take up this study was the recent controversy on the use of mustard oil in our country. Mustard oil contains high amount of erucic acid and glucosinolates that, according to few reports, are toxic to experimental animals. The use of Indian mustard oil is discouraged in the International market due to its high erucic acid and glucosinolate content. Western countries including U.S. have banned the use of Indian mustard oil thus effecting export of this oil. To solve the controversy this study was conducted to evaluate the toxicity of high dose (50 calorie % in fat free diet) of mustard oil, unboiled and boiled (185-190 ºC for 15 min) with other edible oils (corn oil and sunflower oil) for 3, 6 and 12 months. The lipid profile in serum, heart and aorta of male wistar rats were carried out. Serum was also used for the liver function and kidney function tests. Histopathological responses of twelve month rat heart and aorta tissue were investigated.

         No significant alterations were observed in the content of serum cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio, cholesterol:phospholipid ratio, serum glutamate oxaloacetate transamimnase, serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase, bilirubin, creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels after giving mustard oil (unboiled and boiled), corn oil and sunflower oil in the diet for 3, 6 and 12 months. No toxicity with mustard oil either boiled or unboiled was observed.

         Cholesterol, phospholipid, ganglioside and esterified fatty acid levels were analyzed in heart and aorta tissues of experimental animals. The total cholesterol levels were decreased non-significantly with sunflower oil in rat heart. Also there was non-significant decrease in esterified fatty acid levels in rat heart with sunflower oil. Cholesterol-phospholipid ratio in heart remained unchanged with all the edible oils throughout the study. The pathological changes observed in rat cardiac muscle fibres given 50 calorie % unboiled and boiled mustard oil in fat free diets for twelve months revealed majority of cardiac muscle fibres normal except a few muscle fibres with pyknotic nucleus and early degenerative changes. However cardiac pathology was not reflected in serum biochemistry of these rats. No changes in cardiac muscle fibres were observed in corn oil and sunflower oil group.

         The total cholesterol levels was decreased non-significantly with all the edible oils after three months but increased after six and twelve months of study in rat aorta. Also there was non-significant depletion in the content of esterified fatty acid in rat aorta with sunflower oil. No significant alterations were observed with all the edible oils in the content of cholesterol, phospholipid, ganglioside and esterified fatty acid in rat aorta. Aortic cholesterol-phospholipid ratio remained unchanged with all the edible oils after three, six and twelve months. Pathological examination of the aorta of rats given 50 calorie % unboiled and boiled mustard oil, corn oil and sunflower oil for twelve months showed a smooth intima with no macroscopic evidence of atheromatous lesions. Our study indicated no toxic symptoms of mustard oil (unboiled or boiled).

         No significant changes in these parameters were observed in either of the experimental group of animals. Mustard oil has been found equally as effective as corn oil and sunflower oil in reducing plasma total and LDL Cholesterol levels in rats.

         Mustard oil is healthy as it has 30 per cent protein, calcium, phytins, phenolics and natural anti-oxidants. Mustard oil contains high amount of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and a good ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which is good for heart. Mustard oil contains the least amount of saturated fatty acids, making it safe for heart patients.

         Glucosinolate, the pungent principle in mustard oil, has anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti-carcinogenic properties, which account for many medicinal utilities of the oil.

         The modern concept is to take a mix of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat based cooking oils. These include sunflower oil, groundnut oil, corn oil, safflower oil and mustard oil. The relatively high level of oleic acid and the favorable balance between linolenic and linoleic acids is present in mustard oil.

        It may be concluded that it is the safest oil and is as good as any other edible oil.