Canola

Canola

Canola

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 B. napus and B. rapa. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content.

Description

Canola may refer to an edible and industrial oil (also known as canola oil) produced from the seed of any of several cultivars of rapeseed bred to be low in erucic acid from the Brassicaceae family of plants, or to the plants themselves, namely cultivars of Brassica napus L., Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, syn. B. campestris L. or Brassica juncea. To be called canola, the oil must contain less than 2% erucic acid and the leftover meal must contain less than 30 micromoles of aliphatic glucosinolates per gram.

Consumption of the oil has become common in industrialized nations, and it is claimed not only to be completely safe for people to eat, but also to be a health-promoting plant-derived oil having a relatively low amount of saturated fat and a high amount of polyunsaturated fats. Health concerns center around the fact that standard production may leave trace amounts of chemical solvent and that non-organic canola may be made from plants that have been genetically modified. It is also used as a source of biodiesel.

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