||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with North America and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (May 2012)|
Canola refers to a cultivar of either rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) or field mustard (Brassica campestris L. or Brassica Rapa var.). Its seeds are used to produce edible oil suitable for consumption by humans12 and livestock.3 The oil is also suitable for use as biodiesel.
Originally, Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed at the University of Manitoba, Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur R. Stefansson in the early 1970s,45 but it has a very different nutritional profile in addition to much less erucic acid.6 The name "canola" was chosen by the board of the Rapeseed Association of Canada in 1978. The "Can" part obviously refers to Canada but the "ola" part has no real meaning despite several attempts by others to read a meaning into it. There were several other products around at the time using the "ola" tag including Mazola™ or Ricola™ or even Canola™ the name of a Canon Calculator. Genetically modified rapeseed is sometimes referred to as Rapeseed 00. A product known as LEAR (for low erucic acid rapeseed) derived from cross-breeding of multiple lines of Brassica juncea may also be referred to as canola oil and is considered safe for human consumption.7
Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed, an oilseed plant already used in ancient civilization as a fuel. The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin word “rapum,” meaning turnip. Turnip, rutabaga, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard, and many other vegetables are related to the two natural canola varieties commonly grown, which are cultivars of Brassica napus and Brassica rapa. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content.
Hundreds of years ago, rapeseed oil was used as a fuel in lamps in Asia and Europe. The Chinese and Indians used a form of rapeseed oil that was unrefined (natural).8 Its use was limited until the development of steam power, when machinists found rapeseed oil clung to water- or steam-washed metal surfaces better than other lubricants. World War II saw high demand for the oil as a lubricant for the rapidly increasing number of steam engines in naval and merchant ships. When the war blocked European and Asian sources of rapeseed oil, a critical shortage developed and Canada began to expand its limited rapeseed production.
After the war, demand declined sharply and farmers began to look for other uses for the plant and its products. Rapeseed oil extracts were first put on the market in 1956–1957 as food products, but these suffered from several unacceptable characteristics. Rapeseed oil had a distinctive taste and a disagreeable greenish colour due to the presence of chlorophyll. It also contained a high concentration of erucic acid. Experiments on animals have pointed to the possibility that erucic acid, consumed in large quantities, may cause heart damage, although Indian researchers have published findings that call into question these conclusions and the implication that the consumption of mustard or rapeseed oil is dangerous.910111213 Feed meal from the rapeseed plant also was not particularly appealing to livestock, due to high levels of sharp-tasting compounds called glucosinolates, and they would not eat it.
A variety developed in 1998 is considered to be the most disease- and drought-resistant Canola variety of rapeseed to date. This and other recent varieties have been produced by using genetic engineering. In 2011 26% of the acres sown were genetically modified (biotech) canola.14
Canola was originally a trademark, but is now a generic term for edible varieties of rapeseed oil in North America and Australia. In Canada, an official definition of canola is codified in Canadian law.15
Rapeseed was once considered a specialty crop in Canada, but Canola now has become a major American cash crop. Canada and the United States produce between 7 and 10 million tonnes of canola seed per year. Annual Canadian exports total 3 to 4 million tonnes of the seed, 800,000 tonnes of canola oil and 1 million tonnes of canola meal. GM canola may not be grown in jurisdictions that have not approved GMOs. Within the United States, 90% of the canola crop is grown in North Dakota.16
Rapeseed is the highest-producing oil-seed crop in the USA. An Oregon State University researcher has determined that growing winter for hybrid Canola seed appears possible in central Oregon, USA, but the state prohibits it from being grown in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties because it may attract bees away from specialty seed crops such as carrots, which require bees for pollination. The rapeseed blossom is a major source of nectar for honeybees.
The major customers of canola seed are Japan, Mexico, China, and Pakistan, while the bulk of canola oil and meal goes to the United States, with smaller amounts shipped to Mexico, China, and Europe. World production of rapeseed oil in the 2002–2003 season was about 14 million metric tons.17 In the 2010–2011 season, world production is estimated to be at 58.4 million tonnes.18 The United States is a net consumer of canola oil, having used 3 billion pounds in 2010, 2.5 billion of which was imported from Canada.16
Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Almost all commercial grade canola oil is then refined using hexane. Finally, the crude oil is refined using water precipitation and organic acid, "bleaching" with clay, and deodorizing using steam distillation.19 Approximately 43% of a seed is oil.20 What remains is a rapeseed meal that is used as high quality animal feed. 22.68 kg (50 lb) of rapeseed makes approximately 10 L (2.64 US gal) of canola oil. Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods. Its reputation as a healthy oil has created high demand in markets around the world, and overall it is the third most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world.21
The average density of canola oil is 0.92 g/ml.22
|Compound||Family||% of total|
Canola oil is low in saturated fat and contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 2:1. If consumed, it also reduces Low-density lipoprotein and overall cholesterol levels, and as a significant source of the essential omega-3 fatty acid is associated with reduced all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.27 It is recognized by many health professional organizations including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Heart Association.28293031 Canola oil has been given a qualified health claim from the United States Food and Drug Administration due to its high levels of cholesterol-lowering fats.32
Although wild rapeseed oil contains significant amounts of erucic acid,33 a known toxin,34 the cultivar used to produce commercial, food-grade canola oil was bred to contain less than 2% erucic acid, levels that are not believed to cause harm in humans3536 and no health effects have been associated with consumption by humans of the genetically modified oil.34 Although rumors that canola oil can cause dangerous health problems circulated,3738 there is no reason to believe canola oil poses unusual health risks and its consumption in food-grade forms is generally recognized as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration.235
Because of the lower levels of the toxic and irritating properties of genetically modified rapeseed oil, Canola oil is a more promising source for manufacturing biodiesel than the natural oil as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels.
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||Oleic acid
|Total poly39||linolenic acid
|Canola (rapeseed)||7.365||63.276||28.142||-||-||-||400 °F (204 °C)41|
|Coconut||91.00||6.000||3.000||-||2||6||350 °F (177 °C)41|
|Corn||12.948||27.576||54.677||1||58||28||450 °F (232 °C)42|
|Cottonseed||25.900||17.800||51.900||1||54||19||420 °F (216 °C)42|
|Flaxseed/Linseed (European)43||6 - 9||10 - 22||68 - 89||56 - 71||12 - 18||10 - 22||225 °F (107 °C)|
|Olive||14.00||72.00||14.00||-||-||-||380 °F (193 °C)41|
|Palm||49.300||37.000||9.300||-||10||40||455 °F (235 °C)44|
|Peanut||16.900||46.200||32.000||-||32||48||437 °F (225 °C)42|
|8.00||15.00||75.00||-||-||-||410 °F (210 °C)41|
|7.541||75.221||12.820||-||-||-||410 °F (210 °C)41|
|Soybean||15.650||22.783||57.740||7||54||24||460 °F (238 °C)42|
|10.100||45.400||40.100||0.200||39.800||45.300||440 °F (227 °C)42|
|9.859||83.689||3.798||-||-||-||440 °F (227 °C)42|
|Values as percent (%) by weight of total fat.|
A genetically engineered rapeseed that is tolerant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995. In 2009, 90% of the Canadian crop was herbicide-tolerant.45 As of 2005, 87% of the canola grown in the US was genetically modified.46 A 2010 study conducted in North Dakota found glyphosate- or glufosinate-resistance transgenes in 80% of wild natural rapeseed plants, and a few plants that were resistant to both herbicides. The escape of the genetically modified plants has raised concerns that the build-up of herbicide resistance in feral canola could make it more difficult to manage these plants using herbicides. However one of the researchers agrees that ".. feral populations could have become established after trucks carrying cultivated GM seeds spilled some of their load during transportation." She also notes that the GM canola results they found may have been biased as they only sampled along roadsides.47
Genetically modified canola has become a point of controversy and contentious legal battles. In one high-profile case (Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser) the Monsanto Company sued Percy Schmeiser for patent infringement after he replanted canola seed that he had harvested from his field, which he discovered was contaminated with Monsanto's patented glyphosate-tolerant canola by spraying it with Roundup, leaving only the resistant plants. The Supreme Court ruled that Percy was in violation of Monsanto's patent because he knowingly replanted the resistant seed that he had harvested, but he was not required to pay Monsanto damages since he did not benefit financially from its presence.48 On 19 March 2008, Schmeiser and Monsanto Canada Inc. came to an out-of-court settlement whereby Monsanto would pay for the clean-up costs of the contamination, which came to a total of $660 Canadian.49
In 2003, Australia's gene technology regulator approved the release of canola altered to make it resistant to Glufosinate ammonium, a herbicide.50 The introduction of the genetically modified crop to Australia generated considerable controversy.51 Canola is Australia's third biggest crop, and is used often by wheat farmers as a break crop to improve soil quality. As of 2008 the only genetically modified crops in Australia were canola, cotton, and carnations.5253
- Dupont, J; White, PJ; Johnston, HA; McDonald, BE; Grundy, SM; Bonanome, A (October 1989). "Food safety and health effects of canola oil". Journal of the American College of Nutrition 8 (5): 360–375. PMID 2691543.
- Zeratsky, Katherine (2009). "Canola Oil: Does it Contain Toxins?". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- "Canola". infoplease.com. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Richard Keith Downey: Genetics". science.ca. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- Storgaard, AK (2008). "Stefansson, Baldur Rosmund". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- Barthet, V. "Canola". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed (Lear) Oil Derived From Canola-quality Brassica juncea (L.) CZERN. Lines PC 97-03, PC98-44 AND PC98-45". Health Canada. Retrieved 2008-12-29. Unknown parameter
- Fats that Heal, Fats that Killby Udo Erasmus.
- Ghafoorunissa (1996). "Fats in Indian Diets and Their Nutritional and health Implications". Lipids 31: S287–S291. doi:10.1007/BF02637093. PMID 8729136.
- Shenolikar, I (1980). "Fatty Acid Profile of Myocardial Lipid in Populations Consuming Different Dietary Fats". Lipids 15 (11): 980–982. doi:10.1007/BF02534427.
- Bellenand, JF; Baloutch, G; Ong, N; Lecerf, J (1980). "Effects of Coconut Oil on Heart Lipids and on Fatty Acid Utilization in Rapeseed Oil". Lipids 15 (11): 938–943. doi:10.1007/BF02534418.
- Achaya, KT (1987). "Fat Status of Indians". Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research 46: 112–126. More than one of
- Indu, M; Ghafoorunissa (1992). "n-3 Fatty Acids in Indian Diets - Comparison of the Effects of Precursor (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) Vs Product (Long chain n-3 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids)". Nutrition Research 12 (4–5): 569–582. doi:10.1016/S0271-5317(05)80027-2.
- Biotech Canola - Annual Update 2011
- "Canola Varieties". Canola Growers Manual. Canola Council of Canada. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
- As canola demand rises, US works to grow more, Gannett, Associated Press, 19 August 2011, retrieved 20 August 2011
- USDA. "Agricultural Statistics 2005" (PDF).
- "Section 3.1: Leaking Tank Experiments with Orimulsion and Canola Oil". NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS OR&R 6. Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. December 2001.
- "Comparison of Dietary Fats Chart". Canola Council of Canada. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21 (2008)
- DeFilippis, Andrew P.; Laurence S. Sperling. "Understanding omega-3's" (PDF). Archived from the original on 22 October 2007.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22 (2009)
- O'Brien, R (2008). Fats and Oils Formulating and Processing for Applications, Third Edition: Formulating and Processing for Applications. CRC Press. pp. 37–40. ISBN 1420061666.
- "Canola Oil: Good for Every Body" (PDF). American Dietetic Association. 2006. Archived from the original on 27 November 2008.
- "Knowing Your Fats". American Heart Association. 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- "Protect Your Heart: Choose Fats Wisely" (PDF). American Diabetes Association. 2004. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- "AAFP 2006-Changing the Landscape of Chronic Disease Care". American Association of Family Physicians 2006 Scientific Assembly. 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- "Qualified Health Claims, Letter of Enforcement Discretion U.S. Food and Drug Administration". 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- Reddy, Chada S.; Hayes, A. Wallace (2007). "Foodborne Toxicants". In Hayes, A. Wallace. Principles and methods of toxicology (5th ed.). London, UK: Informa Healthcare. p. 640. ISBN 0-8493-3778-X.
- U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 1 April 2010,
- The Commission of the European Communities (1980). "Commission Directive 80/891/EEC of 25 July 1980 relating to the Community method of analysis for determining the erucic acid content in oils and fats intended to be used as such for human consumption and foodstuffs containing added oils or fats". EurLex Official Journal 254.
- Mikkelson, Barbara (30 December 2005). "Canola Oil and Rape Seed". Snopes.com. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Edell, Dean (1999). "Canola Oil: Latest Internet Hoax Victim". Healthcentral.com. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "Nutrient database, Release 24". United States Department of Agriculture. All values in this column are from the USDA Nutrient database unless otherwise cited.
- "Fats, Oils, Fatty Acids, Triglycerides". Scientific Psychic (R). All values for ω-3, ω-6, ω-9 fats (not hydrogenated) are from Scientific Psychic (R) unless otherwise cited.
- Katragadda, H. R.; Fullana, A. S.; Sidhu, S.; Carbonell-Barrachina, Á. A. (2010). "Emissions of volatile aldehydes from heated cooking oils". Food Chemistry 120: 59. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.09.070.
- Wolke, Robert L. (May 16, 2007). "Where There's Smoke, There's a Fryer". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- Fatty acid composition of important plant and animal fats and oils (German) 21 December 2011, Hans-Jochen Fiebig, Münster
- (Italian) Scheda tecnica dell'olio di palma bifrazionato PO 64.
- Beckie, Hugh et al (Autumn 2011) GM Canola: The Canadian Experience Farm Policy Journal, Volume 8 Number 8, Autumn Quarter 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2012
- Johnson, Stanley R. et al Quantification of the Impacts on US Agriculture of Biotechnology-Derived Crops Planted in 2006 National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, Washington DC, February 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "GM crop escapes into the American wild". Retrieved 2011-08-24.
- Federal Court of Appeal of Canada. Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser (C.A.)  2 F.C. 165. Retrieved 25 March 2006.
- "Monsanto vs Schmeiser: In the Spotlight". Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- "GM canola gets the green light". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- for example Price, Libby (6 September 2005). "Network of concerned farmers demands tests from Bayer". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-10. and "Greenpeace has the last laugh on genetic grains talks". Australian Broadcaasting Corporation. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-20. also Cauchi, Stephen (25 October 2003). "GM: food for thought". The Age. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- GM Crops and Stockfeed
- GM Carnations in Australia
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Canola|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Brassica campestris|
- Review of University of Alberta Canola Breeding Program
- Swathing and Harvesting Canola
- Canola Production
- North Dakota State University picture comparing canola oil fatty acid content with other oils.
- USDA-ERS Briefing Room - Canola Summary of canola production, trade, and consumption as well as links to relevant USDA reports.