CONCERNS ABOUT rising cholesterol could lead to new healthier oilseed rape varieties overtaking conventional types, one breeder has suggested.

So-called High Oleic Low Linoleic (HOLL) varieties do not require hydrogenation – a process that creates unwanted trans fatty acids, linked to cholesterol build up, said Monsanto‘s Matthew Clarke.

Oilseed rape is traditionally hydrogenated by the food industry to improve its shelf life, but health scares in the US over the fatty acids produced mean there is more interest in new HOLL varieties, he said.

“It is possible that HOLL varieties will take over from standard double lows as the main oilseed rape crop in the next few years,” he told delegates at a Home Grown Cereals Authority oilseeds conference.

Varieties such as the firm‘s Nexera, contain oils with less than 3% linoleic acid and more than 75% oleic acid and do not generally need hydrogenation, he added.

For a more detailed report from the conference see this Friday‘s FARMERS WEEKLY (Feb 4).