Sunflower Seeds and Seed Kernels

Every time I seed a gunny sack of sunflower seed kernels in a supermarket, I wonder how they are extracted from their seeds. It is very difficult to extract even one of them by hand without smashing its kernels, I really wonder the process that extracts mass of them.

How do they do it? Is there a documentary or Youtube video about it?

2 Answers 2


By using a dehuller machine. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hegzzj9Rzk or http://www.buhlergroup.com/global/en/products/dehuller-dgba.htm

How does a dehuller work? I don't know, but it seems that Google does:

The most popular decorticator for sunflower is proposed by the Bühler Cie. It consists in a rotating blade that propels the seeds by centrifuge force against a wall. It functions on one impact. It is designed for partial removal of hulls because due to its principle, it is not able to carry out a good dehulling without increasing the force of the impact. The kernel oil content is so high in sunflower that under the violence of he chock, some oil can be transferred to the hulls and is lost. Moreover, increasing the rotating speed of such dehuller drives to increase the production of fines that are difficult to separates from hulls. Another mono-chock kind of dehuller is air-jet impact where the propelling of the seeds is done by a strong current of air. Multi-chocks dehullers like the Ripple mill improve the dehulling quality because they carry out several impacts on the achene with milder violence and enable en enhanced separation of hulls without generating an excess of fines.

See: http://www.creol.fr/CTMSite/creol/us/travaux/img/dehulling_3.pdf

See also: http://www.buhlergroup.com/northamerica/downloads/DGBA_Sunflower_Dehuller.pdf for some schematics of the inside of the machine and some insights about the way it works.

  • 3
    It is good to know that this machine exists, but a good answer would give a brief explanation of how it actually works.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 17:40
  • Thank you for taking your time to post this description here. By the way, you can edit your own answers, posting new information as a different answer is confusing. This time, I added it to your original answer for you. And also gave you an upvote because now the answer is quite good.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 19:47

Just to visualize a bit Raco's answer. There is a scheme of the Buhler machine provided by Buhler Group.

enter image description here

In the brochure from here (but not well explained).

Also, oilseed processing machine looks similar: https://www.buhlergroup.com/content/buhlergroup/global/en/industries/Oilseed.html

This is not an answer actually, just a few more links to investigate the topic.

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