In search of a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to mineral oil as an industrial lubricant, researchers believe they have found the answer in sesame seed oil.

Because mineral oil is produced from fossil reserves of crude oil, researchers Sabarinath Sankaran Nair, Kumarapillai Prabhakaran Nair and Perikinalil Krishnan Rajendrakumar of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, Kerala, India, are researching possible alternatives that could be grown as crops to combat dwindling resources.

According to researchers, sesame seed oil had high viscosity and a better coefficient of friction when compared with coconut oil, sunflower oil and commercially-available mineral oil. Researchers also found that the oxidative stability of sesame oil is not as high as mineral oil, which might require additives or genetically-modified plants to improve oil stability.

"With further development, it can become an eco-friendly substitute for its mineral oil counterparts in [the] near future," the team concludes.

The study is published in the International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology.