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The major sterols of oilseeds are generally 6-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campes-terol. A majority of oils contain 100-500 mg sterols /100g sample. Notable exceptions are corn, rapeseed/canola, rice bran, and sesame oils, which contain up to 1.4, 1.0, 3.2, and 2.9 g sterols/100g sample, respectively. Rapeseed and mustard oils contain brassicasterol, which is characteristic of the cruciferae family and is present at 55-95 and 66-88 mg/100g oil, respectively (Shahidi and Shukla, 1996).

Phytosterols, at least some of them, are important inhibitors of cholesterol absorption by interfering with cholesterol synthesis and enhancing cholesterol excretion (Hicks and Moreau, 2001). They also exert anticancer properties and cytotoxicity (Piironen et al., 2000).

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