|Rapeseed oil seed|
|Rapeseed (Brassica napus)|
Rapeseed (Brassica napus), also known as rape, oilseed rape, and, in the case of one particular group of cultivars, canola, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed. It is the third-largest source of vegetable oil and second-largest source of protein meal in the world .
- 1 Etymology and taxonomy
- 2 Description
- 3 Ecology
- 4 Uses
- 5 Cultivation
- 6 Cultivars
- 7 Health effects
- 8 Production
- 9 Pests and diseases
- 10 Genome sequencing and genetics
- 11 See also
- 12 References
Etymology and taxonomy
Rapeseed belongs to the Brassicaceae family of flowering plants. It has two subspecies, the Brassica napus ssp. napobrassica also known as the swedes rape and the brassica napus ssp. napus which includes the winter and spring oilseed, vegetable and fodder rape forms. The pabularia variety (Siberian kale) is a distinct leaf rape form of the napus subspecies which used to be common as a winter-annual vegetable.
Brassica napus grows to 100 cm (39 in) high with lower leaves pinnatifid and glaucous and the upper leaves clasping the stem. The flowers are yellow and about 17 mm (0.67 in) across. B. napus differs from B. nigra, but can be distinguished by the upper leaves which do not clasp the stem, from B. rapa by its smaller petals which are less than 13 mm (0.51 in) across.
In north-east of Ireland B. napus and B. rapa are recorded as escapes in roadside verges and waste ground.
Rapeseed is grown for the production of animal feed, edible vegetable oils, and biodiesel. Rapeseed was the third-leading source of vegetable oil in the world in 2000, after soybean and palm oil. It is the world's second-leading source of protein meal after soybean.
Processing of rapeseed for oil production produces rapeseed meal as a byproduct. The byproduct is a high-protein animal feed, competitive with soybean. The feed is employed mostly for cattle feeding, but is also used for pigs and poultry. However, natural rapeseed oil contains 50% erucic acid and high levels of glucosinolates that significantly lowers the nutritional value of rapeseed press cakes for animal feed.
Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest known vegetable oils, but historically was used in limited quantities due to high levels of erucic acid, which is damaging to cardiac muscle of animals, and glucosinolates, which made it less nutritious in animal feed. Rapeseed oil can contain up to 54% erucic acid. Food-grade canola oil derived from rapeseed cultivars, also known as rapeseed 00 oil, low erucic acid rapeseed oil, LEAR oil, and rapeseed canola-equivalent oil, has been generally recognized as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Canola oil is limited by government regulation to a maximum of 2% erucic acid by weight in the USA and 5% in the EU, with special regulations for infant food. These low levels of erucic acid are not believed to cause harm in human neonates.
Rapeseed oil is used as diesel fuel, either as biodiesel, straight in heated fuel systems, or blended with petroleum distillates for powering motor vehicles. Biodiesel may be used in pure form in newer engines without engine damage and is frequently combined with fossil-fuel diesel in ratios varying from 2% to 20% biodiesel. Owing to the costs of growing, crushing, and refining rapeseed biodiesel, rapeseed-derived biodiesel from new oil costs more to produce than standard diesel fuel, so diesel fuels are commonly made from the used oil. Rapeseed oil is the preferred oil stock for biodiesel production in most of Europe, accounting for about 80% of the feedstock, partly because rapeseed produces more oil per unit of land area compared to other oil sources, such as soybeans, but primarily because canola oil has a significantly lower gel point than most other vegetable oils.
Rapeseed is also used as a cover crop in the US during the winter as it is prevents soil erosion, produces large amounts of biomass, suppresses weeds and can improve soil tilth with its root system. Some cultivars of rapeseed are also used as annual forage and are ready for grazing livestock 80 to 90 days after planting.
Rapeseed has a high melliferous potential and is a main forage crop for honeybees. Monofloral rapeseed honey has a whitish or milky yellow color, peppery taste and, due to its fast crystallization time, a soft-solid texture. It crystallizes within 3 to 4 weeks and can ferment over time if stored improperly. The low fructose-to-glucose ratio in monofloral rapeseed honey causes it to quickly granulate in the honeycomb, forcing beekeepers to extract the honey within 24 hours of it being capped.
Biolubricants containing 70% or more canola/rapeseed oil has replaced petroleum-based chainsaw oil in Austria although they are typically more expensive. Rapeseed has been researched as a means of containing radionuclides that contaminated the soil after the Chernobyl disaster as it has a rate of uptake up to three times more than other grains, and only about 3 to 6% of the radionuclides go into the oilseeds. Rapeseed meal is mostly used as a soil fertilizer rather than for animal feed in China.
Crops from the Brassica family, including rapeseed, were among the earliest plants to be widely cultivated by mankind as early as 10,000 years ago. Rapeseed was being cultivated in India as early as 4000 B.C. and it spread to China and Japan 2000 years ago.
Rapeseed is currently grown with high levels of nitrogen-containing fertilisers, and the manufacture of these generates N2O. An estimated 3-5% of nitrogen provided as fertilizer for rapeseed is converted to N2O.
Canola was originally a trademark, but is now a generic term in North America for edible varieties of rapeseed oil. In Canada, an official definition of canola is codified in Canadian law.
A variety of rapeseed developed in 1998 is considered to be the most disease- and drought-resistant canola. This and other recent varieties have been produced using genetic engineering. In 2009, 90% of the rapeseed crops planted in Canada were genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant canola varieties.
In 1981, a deadly outbreak of disease in Spain, known as toxic oil syndrome, was caused by the consumption of colza oil (a cousin of rapeseed oil procured from a similar species of B. rapa) for industrial use that was fraudulently sold as olive oil to be consumed in cooking, salads, and other foods. Symptoms appeared as a typical pneumonia with interstitial infiltrates on chest X-ray, complicated by pulmonary hypertension in a significant number of cases.
Rapeseed pollen contains known allergens. Whether rape pollen causes hay fever has not been well established, because rape is an insect-pollinated (entomophilous) crop, whereas hay fever is usually caused by wind-pollinated plants. The inhalation of oilseed rape dust may cause asthma in agricultural workers.
In 1985, Augusto Odone, with the help of British chemist Don Suddaby, combined rapeseed oil with olive oil to create Lorenzo's oil which halted progression of Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) in Lorenzo Odone.
In 1973, Canadian agricultural scientists launched a marketing campaign to promote canola consumption. Following the European Parliament's Transport Biofuels Directive in 2003 promoting the use of biofuels, the cultivation of winter rapeseed increased dramatically in Europe.
Worldwide production of rapeseed (including canola) has increased sixfold between 1975 and 2007. The production of canola and rapeseed since 1975 has opened up the edible oil market for rapeseed oil. Since 2002, production of biodiesel has been steadily increasing in EU and USA to 6 million metric tons in 2006. Rapeseed oil is positioned to supply a good portion of the vegetable oils needed to produce that fuel. World production was thus expected to trend further upward between 2005 and 2015 as biodiesel content requirements in Europe go into effect.
Pests and diseases
- Bertha armyworms (Mamestra configurata)
- Bronzed field beetle (Adelium brevicorne) larvae
- Cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii)
- Diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella)
- Flea beetles (Phyllotreta sp.)
- Grasshoppers (order Orthoptera)
- Harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica)
- Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.)
- Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)
- Root maggots (Delia spp.)
- Snails and slugs
- Large white butterflies (Pieris brassicae)
- Beet western yellows virus (family Luteoviridae)
- Blackleg (caused by the fungus species Leptosphaeria maculans)
- Clubroot (caused by the protist Plasmodiophora brassicae)
- Sclerotinia white stem rot (caused by the fungus genus Sclerotinia)
- White rust disease (caused by the fungus species Albugo candida)
- Verticillium wilt (caused by the fungus species Verticillium longisporum)
- Light-leaf spot (caused by the fungus species Pyrenopeziza brassicae)
Genome sequencing and genetics
Bayer Cropscience (in collaboration with BGI-Shenzhen, China, Keygene N.V., the Netherlands, and the University of Queensland, Australia) announced it had sequenced the entire genome of B. napus and its constituent genomes present in B. rapa and B. oleracea in 2009. The "A" genome component of the amphidiploid rapeseed species B. napus is currently being sequenced by the Multinational Brassica Genome Project.[needs update]
Genetically modified organism controversy
The Monsanto company has transgenic new cultivars of rapeseed to be resistant to the effects of its herbicide, Roundup. They have sought compensation from farmers found to have the 'Roundup Ready' gene in canola in their fields without paying a license fee. These farmers have claimed the 'Roundup Ready' gene was blown into their fields and crossed with unaltered canola. Other farmers claim, after spraying Roundup in non-canola fields to kill weeds before planting, 'Roundup Ready' volunteers are left behind, causing extra expense to rid their fields of the weeds.
In a closely followed legal battle, the Supreme Court of Canada found in favor of Monsanto's patent infringement claim for unlicensed growing of 'Roundup Ready' in its 2004 ruling on Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. The case garnered international controversy, as a court-sanctioned legitimation for the global patent protection of genetically modified crops. However, Schmeiser was not required to pay damages, as he did not benefit financially from the GMO crop in his field.
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