Healthy rape oil on the wayNEW OILSEED rape varieties with healthier oil make-up could soon oust conventional types, says Monsanto breeder Matthew Clarke.

The food industry traditionally hydrogenates oilseed rape to make it more stable and increase its shelf life. But the process creates undesirable trans fatty acids, which have caused health scares in America, he told HGCA conference delegates.

“It”s very big news in the USA and something we are going to hear a lot more about.

” Trans fatty acids have no nutritional value, but are heavily implicated in cholesterol build-up, he explained.

By modifying the ratio of the different types of oil within the crop the need for hydrogenation can be eliminated.

“Oils with less than 3% linolenic acid and more than 75% oleic acid do not generally need hydrogenation.

” The first of such varieties, Nexera, a spring type was grown quite widely last season. For this autumn Monsanto will be making a winter High Oleic Low Linolenic variety available in National Listed Splendor.

“It”s possible that HOLL varieties will take over from standard double lows as the main oilseed rape crop in the next few years,” said Mr Clarke. HOLL could become the main OSR crop, says Monsanto”s Matthew Clarke