Whether you call it canola, oilseed rape or just rapeseed, its striking yellow flowers have become a familiar highlight of springtime landscapes around the world.
The canola noun is particular interesting because it derives from research work done by Canadian scientists in the 1970’s to breed varieties with low levels of erucic acid. In original rapeseed varieties, levels of erucic acid were associated with health risks to both humans and animals. The research to create low acid varieties therefore opened the door to a broad use in both food and feed production, not to mention the anagram: Canadian (can) oil (o) low (l) acid (a).
As witnessed by the ever-growing planting area, the modern, low-erucic-acid evolution of rapeseed has become an important source of edible oil prized for its high levels of unsaturated fat and content of antioxidants. Further, rapeseed meal is a valuable by-product of oil processing that provides a protein-rich source of animal feed. Ongoing research suggests that rapeseed may even provide a protein source for food.
Oil content and moisture key to max value
For such a popular global commodity, it only makes sense to get the very best out of both the raw material and the oil production process for improved profit with consistent quality and efficiency. A versatile test option for well proven near infrared (NIR) instruments does just this with a rapid test of moisture and oil content in a variety of samples.
Whole seeds, press cake and meal are tested to gain vital process data on solid material with just one cost-effective analytical unit. Simple sample presentation allows anyone to get reliable measurements for whole seeds, press cake and meals.
The test data provides valuable insights in a number of ways, for instance:
· Checking incoming seeds help to ensure best use downstream in the process
· Effective drying and storage of seeds
· Tracking changes in seed quality characteristics during storage
· Checking seeds during tempering process for effective pressing
· Testing press cake for oil content to decide further pressing
· Controlling rapeseed meal quality for feed production
Further, the easy to use instrument avoids time-consuming reference tests based on chemical analysis and cuts the use of hazardous solvents. Results are delivered within 30 seconds.
Exploiting the power of near infrared analysis
The test option is for the FOSS NIRSTM DS2500 and DS3 analysers which are popular and well-proven rapid test solutions built on near infrared (NIR) technology. Providing a quick and reliable source of test data on a wide variety of materials, NIR analysers have become essential tools for quality control of a wide range of raw materials and finished products in food and agricultural production.
As such, the test for rapeseed complements existing capability to test a range of food and feed raw materials and products with the NIRS DS2500 and NIRS DS3 analysers.
Just some of the many existing applications include tests on whole sunflower seeds, soybeans, oilseed meals, feed pellets, flour, milk powder, plant-based products and more. The reliability of results for parameters such as protein, moisture, fat and more help to handle varying quality of incoming raw material and improve control of processes and final products. The analysers can even be programmed to test soil for parameters critical to more sustainable farming strategies such as soil organic carbon.
Capturing the full value of yellow gold
The story of how a seed measuring no more than 2mm and with a flawed compositional profile has become such an important aspect of the agricultural landscape is a topical example of how the industry can step up to growing demands for food and feed. Add the innovative use of analytical technology and the scene is set for a more effective use of the resource known as oilseed rape, canola, yellow gold or whatever name you might like to choose.
Further applications for the NIRS DS3 are under continuous development.