Canola Facts

Canola Facts
Canola is modified type of rapeseed. It belongs to the mustard family (canola is closely related to Brussels sprout, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage). Cultivation of rapeseed started four thousand years ago. Medical studies in 20th century showed that rapeseed contains erucic acid (chemical substance) that may induce harmful effects in humans when consumed in large quantities. Soon after, scientists created genetically improved, healthier version of rapeseed, named canola. Newly created plant contains minimal amount of erucic acid, it is resistant to herbicides and it can be consumed safely. Thanks to all these features, canola is one of the most important agricultural crops today.
Interesting Canola Facts:
Canola is herbaceous plant that can reach 3 to 6 feet in height.
Canola has oval-shaped, bluish-green leaves that partially clasp the stem. They are hairy at the edges.
Canola produces small yellow flowers that are rich source of nectar which attracts bees - main pollinators of the flowers. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (stamens and pistil) and they are capable for self-pollination (when cross-pollination is not possible).
Fruit of canola is pod. It looks like a pea pod, but it is 5 times smaller. Pod contains 20, black or brown round seed.
Canola seed consist of oil (more than 40%) and meal. Canola oil is composed of monounsaturated fatty acids (that are able to decrease "bad", LDL cholesterol in human body) and omega-3 fatty acids (that act beneficially on the heart).
It takes around 50 pounds of canola seed for the extraction of 10 liters of oil. Canola oil is used for cooking and as an ingredient of salads in human diet. This oil is very popular due to mild taste and nutrients that act beneficially on the human health.
Canola meal is rich source of proteins. It is used as animal feed for cows, horses, sheep, pigs and chickens.
Two types of proteins isolated from canola meal are used industrially for the manufacture of sodas, sport drinks and other, protein-enriched types of food.
Medical studies showed that isothiocyanates (group of compounds) isolated from canola seed have anti-tumor properties.
Canola oil is used as biodiesel (type of fuel that doesn't pollute the atmosphere as much as conventionally types of fuel, such as diesel).
Compounds isolated from canola have application in the cosmetic industry for the production of soaps, lipsticks, anti-aging creams and moisturizing lotions.
Canola oil has application in the industry of plastics, lubricants and candles.
Two types of resins isolated from canola have application in the manufacture of ink that is used for printing of the newspapers.
80% of honey produced in Canada originates from nectar extracted from flowers of canola.
Canola is usually cultivated as annual plant (plant that completes its life cycle in one year).

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