Jojoba - a substitute for sperm whales
The Jojoba plant has long been known as a source of many useful substances, primarily biologically active. It is also used as an ornamental plant, especially in the southwestern United States. But California gardeners did not even suspect that they were growing a real treasure in their front gardens: jojoba seeds contain up to 50% of natural liquid wax - an oily liquid, which in its chemical composition and properties is almost no different from spermaceti oil.
Chinese Simmondsia, or Jojoba
Chinese Simmondsia, or Jojoba (sometimes called Jojoba) is a perennial evergreen shrub with a height of 1 to 2 meters. This shrub grows in the southern regions of North America, Arizona, Mexico.
Simmondsia Chinese (Simmondsia chinensis), better known as Jojoba and Jojoba (Jojoba), Is the only species of the genus Simmondsia (Simmondsia), which is distinguished into a separate monotypic Simmondsian family (Simmondsiaceae).
Despite its scientific name - Chinese Simmondsia, the plant does not occur in China. An error occurred while decrypting the descriptions. The label ‘Calif’ (California) was read as ‘China’ (China) and the species was named Buxus chinensis (Boxwood Chinese). Later, when the species was isolated into an independent genus, the epithet was preserved, and the proposed name Simmondsia californica (Simmondsia californica) was not recognized as valid.
Why is Jojoba oil so valuable?
Sperm oil, produced by the body of sperm whales, has been widely used in industry as a high-quality lubricant and the basis for the preparation of creams and ointments. But recently it has become scarce: the number of sperm whales has fallen, and in order to prevent their complete extermination, hunting for them is limited to a minimum.
The fact that jojoba oil can become a worthy substitute for spermaceti has been known for a long time. Back in the 1920s, employees of a tree nursery in Arizona (USA) discovered the valuable properties of Simmondsia chinensis oil, when for lack of engine oil they tried to grease a fan with it. They sent jojoba seeds to the University of Arizona, where they soon found that jojoba oil was almost as good as spermaceti. But then no one paid attention to these results: sperm whales in the oceans were still quite enough.
Today, the oil obtained from the fruits of the Jojoba plant is actively used in the manufacture of cosmetics, in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in the production of lubricants.
Jojoba oil is a liquid wax obtained by cold pressing from nuts grown on plantations in North America and other countries. The properties of jojoba oil are determined by the amino acids included in its composition as a part of proteins, which in structure resemble collagen, a substance responsible for skin elasticity. The oil is resistant to rancidity (oxidation). Spermaceti oil has similar properties. At the same time, such substances are very difficult to synthesize.
Now a real boom is unfolding around jojoba. Jojoba is of particular interest in countries with a dry climate - Mexico, Australia, Israel: it grows well only where the annual rainfall does not exceed 450 mm. This interest is understandable, given that each acre of jojoba plantation can bring up to 9 centners of oil per year, and it is sold at 1.5-2 dollars per kilogram.
Only one thing is sad: in order to recall the valuable properties of jojoba, it was first necessary to exterminate the sperm whales.