Tuesday, September 9, 2014

09/09/2014: Research opens up the path to improved rapeseed oil quality

Significant improvements in rapeseed oil quality have come a step closer as a result of HGCA-supported research.
As part of project 3356, researchers have identified a single gene that has a big effect on the polyunsaturated fatty acid content of the oil and may lead to a step change in oil quality. 

http://www.hgca.com/researchOilseed rape varieties that have non-functional copies of this gene produce oil with lower than usual levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This type of oil is highly suitable for both edible oils and a range of industrial applications.

“This project started out looking at whether particular types of rapeseed oil could ever replace mineral oils as lubricants and hydraulic fluids in machinery,” explains Harley Stoddart, HGCA Policy and Research Manager.

“The project successfully sho
wed that rapeseed oil can meet the specification to be used as a lubricant. In addition, while investigating the oil quality, the researchers realised that the oils they were testing would also be suitable for human consumption.

“If the findings are taken up by breeders, new varieties, with improved oil profiles could be available within the next 10 years.”

The oil produced has lower levels of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids than the oil from current oilseed rape varieties. This kind of oil profile means it does not break down under higher temperatures and pressures making it suitable for cooking and industrial use.

“The market potential for edible oils is much larger than that for bio-lubricants” explains Harley Stoddart. At present, biodiesel production underpins the rapeseed market across the EU; around 70% of European market for oilseed rape is for the production of biodiesel.

“A shift towards edible oils with improved oil profile could diversify the market further and make it less dependent on biodiesel production.”

Read more HERE.

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