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An Introduction to Rapeseed
Botanically termed as brassica napus, rapeseed is a large winter or spring annual oil crop. Also known by the names of oilseed rape, rapa, rapaseed; this bright yellow flowering plant is a crop in the Brassica family. It is widely grown in Canada, the United States, Australia, China, India and European countries for the production of animal feed, vegetable oil for human consumption, and biodiesel.

In some areas, rapeseed, which contains more than 40 percent oil, becomes more profitable than soybeans, which have 18 percent oil. They can be ground into nutritious meal used in animal fodder, or pressed for the oil, which can be used for human food or in the production of bio-diesel.
Cannola/Rapeseed Oil
There are two main types of rapeseed oil viz. industrial rapeseed oil and food grade rapeseed oil. The former is used in producing many industrial products including fuels, lubricants, etc., whereas the latter is being extracted from a special cultivar Canola (Canadian Oilseed, Low-Acid). This cultivar is low in erucic acid, a substance which is toxic to humans in large amounts.

*Nutritional Value
100 gm of canola / rapeseed oil contains around 884 Calorie. It possess less saturated fat and has far more omega 3 than olive oil and it also contains vitamin E. This vegetable oil is high in
monounsaturated fatty acids that reduce blood cholesterol levels and is a good source of essential fatty acids that the body must obtain in the diet.

Rapeseed oil contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 2:1 and is second only to flax oil in omega-3 fatty acid. They are quite helpful in lowering the cholesterol/serum tryglyceride levels, and keep platelets from sticking together.

Application Areas
Rapeseed is a major crop in many nations of the world. Seeds are the most widely used components of the crop; although some cultures also eat the stalks, leaves, and flowers of rapeseed. It is widely used as:

  • Animal Fodder: In many countries of the world, particularly in European nations, rapeseed is widely cultivated as an animal feed. It is used to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, etc. When used as an animal feed, it shows amazing results. Regular consumption of its leaves, flowers, etc. improves the overall health of an animal. When mixed with other ingredients, it improves the nutrient balance of the total ration. .
  • Biodiesel: Rapeseed oil is used in the manufacture of biodiesel for powering motor vehicles. It is the preferred oil stock for produces more oil per unit of land area compared to other oil sources, such as soy beans.
  • Soil Erosion Controller: It provides good soil cover over winter to prevent soil erosion, produces large amounts of biomass, suppresses weeds and can improve soil tilth with its root system.
  • Food Grade Oil: The edible oil extracted from the seed of the rape or rapeseed plant is known as rapeseed oil. Known for its great taste and subtle flavor, this vegetable oil is the world's second leading source of protein meal.

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