Canola

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Canola is one of two cultivars of rapeseed or Brassica campestris (Brassica napus L. and B. campestris L.).[1] Their seeds are used to produce edible oil that is fit for human consumption because it has lower levels of erucic acid than traditional rapeseed oils and to produce livestock feed because it has reduced levels of the toxic glucosinolates.[2] Canola was originally naturally bred from rapeseed in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur R. Stefansson in the early 1970s,[3][4] but it has a very different nutritional profile in addition to much less erucic acid.[5] The name "canola" was derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978.[6][7] A product known as LEAR (for low erucic acid rapeseed) derived from cross-breeding of multiple lines of Brassica juncea is also referred to as canola oil and is considered safe for consumption.[8]

Contents

History

Once considered a specialty crop in Canada, canola has become a major North 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. The United States is a net consumer of canola oil. 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.[9]

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