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Grow canola varieties for healthy oil and better returns
Surinder Sandhu and Gurpreet Kaur
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana has developed varieties of raya and gobhi saro which have canola quality of International standard. Canola is the international trade name for sarson carrying lower levels of erucic acid (Canadian oil, low acid” and was registered in Canada in 1970. Scientific studies in the past had confirmed a link between the feeding of high erucic acid gobhi sarson oil and fat accumulations in cardiac tissues of laboratory animals. The defatted meal with high glucosinolate content also appeared to cause goiter in cattles. Based on the thorough researches, Canola is now considered as the healthiest edible oil in the market today. Canola oil contains the least amount of saturated fat (less than 7%) than any commercial edible vegetable oil, with the remaining 93% healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Canola oil has >60 % oleic acid, which is very promising for maintenance of good health and also improves the keeping quality of oil. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in canola oil of sarso is 2:1, which is nutritionally ideal. The omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid, helps in preventing heart attacks and strokes by lowering down the low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. The omega-6, linoleic acid, is important for the brain and essential for the growth and development of infants. This ration and is not found suitable in any other vegetable oil used for cooking purpose.
Farmers in Punjab are growing canola quality gobhi sarson varieties since 2004 when GSC 5, the first canola variety was developed by scientists in PAU. Concerted efforts over the years to further boost productivity and provide an alternative to wheat have led to the development of two more varieties, GSC 6 in 2007 and GSC 7 in 2014. Punjab is the only state in the country where canola varieties are grown under large acreage (>24,000ha).
GSC 7 is an excellent variety having average yield of about 8.9 q/acre. It is higher yielding than all the PAU recommended varieties of Gobhi sarson and Raya of PAU. It has also demonstrated excellent yield potential and acceptability at farmer’s field. On the basis of 13 FLDs conducted at Ludhiana district in 2016-17, average yield recorded was nine quintal per acre. Due to its exceptionally high yield potential, this variety has also been released for general cultivation in states of Himachal Pradesh (Kangra Distt) and Jammu. GSC 7 is a canola type (00) variety of gobhisarson having 0.5 % erucic acid in its oil, and 14.5 µ moles glucosinolates /g in defatted cake, whereas non canola varieties (GSL 1) has erucic acid more than 45 per cent, which is not considered good for human consumption. It has 40.5 per cent oil content and is bold seeded. Decrease in erucic acid leads to increase in oleic acid. GSC 7 contains 64.2% oleic acid, 25.2% linoleic acid, 14.5% linolenic acid. Due to high content of oleic acid, its oil is considered good for Indian cooking with good shelf life. In non canola varieties oleic caid content ranges from 12 to 20 per cent. GSC 7 matures in 154 days and remains free from white rust disease.
Another canola variety, GSC 6 yields 6.1q/acre and its seed contain about 39.1 per cent oil. Oil is free from erucic acid. This variety remains free from white rust. It matures in 145 days which is about 7- 9 days earlier than GSC 7 (154 days) and 10-14 days earlier than the non-canola varieties , GSL 1 which mature in 160 days and hence, vacate the fields earlier for timely sowing of green gram (moong). Thus, this variety fits well in rice/maize-canola gobhi sarson-green gram cropping sequence. This cropping system is not only more rewarding than rice/maize-wheat system but also improves soil health.
PAU has also released India’s first yellow seeded canola quality raya variety RLC 3. Due to yellow coloured seed its oil is very attractive light yellow in colour. Its oil content is 41.5 and is resistant to white rust. Its average yield is 7.3 q/acre. It matures in 145 days. Its oil contains less than 2 per cent erucic acid. Its oil cake contains about 15.0 µ moles glucosinolates /g of defatted meals.
Farmers can fetch health benefits by using canola oil by adopting PAU bred canola varieties viz., GSC-6, GSC-7 and RLC-3. The oil extraction by using even desi Kollu, farmers can get about 32-33 liter of good quality oil and about 65-67 kg oil cake from one quintal seed of these varieties. Oil cake obtained after extraction will be of high quality because of low content of glucosinolates and can be sold at rate of approx. Rs 2200/quintal. It is pertinent to mention that Canola quality is genetic trait and not hampered even oil is extracted using desi kollu. So no special infrastructure and skills are required.
Edible oil is a important component of our diet and need of every household. The per capita consumption of oil is about 15.6. This means, by assuming family unit size of 5-6 members, every family needs about 65-70 litres of edible oil for household consumption every year. Even by sparing 2-3 kanals area for sowing of canola varieties, farmers can generate canola oil of high quality for their families. The canola oil is generally available at rate of Rs. 180 to Rs. 220 in market and one can never be sure about purity of market available oils. Therefore, it is suggested to every farmer to grow canola varieties and fetch the health benefits of high quality oil. With small efforts, farmers can enhance their income, can ensure good quality kachi ghani canola oil for their family members , can save themselves from oil adulteration and consequent health hazards from their usage. PAU scientists are ready for any technical assistance in this direction. Let’s join hands for yellow health revolution for better health of Punjab.