Canola may refer to an edible and industrial oil (also known as canola oil) produced from the seed of any of several cultivars of rapeseed bred to be low in erucic acid from the Brassicaceae family of plants, or to the plants themselves, namely cultivars of Brassica napus L., Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, syn. B. campestris L. or Brassica juncea. To be called canola, the oil must contain less than 2% erucic acid and the leftover meal must contain less than 30 micromoles of aliphatic glucosinolates per gram.
Consumption of the oil has become common in industrialized nations, and it is claimed not only to be completely safe for people to eat, but also to be a health-promoting plant-derived oil having a relatively low amount of saturated fat and a high amount of polyunsaturated fats. Health concerns center around the fact that standard production may leave trace amounts of chemical solvent and that non-organic canola may be made from plants that have been genetically modified. It is also used as a source of biodiesel.
Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Almost all commercial canola oil is then extracted using hexane which is recovered at the end of processing. Finally, the canola oil is refined using water precipitation and organic acid to remove gums and free fatty acids, filtering to remove color, and deodorizing using steam distillation. Cold-pressed and expeller-pressed canola oil are also produced on a more limited basis. About 44% of a seed is oil, with the remainder as a canola meal used for animal feed. About 23 kg (51 lb) of canola seed makes 10 L (2.64 US gal) of canola oil. Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods. Its reputation as a healthy oil has created high demand in markets around the world, and overall it is the third-most widely consumed vegetable oil.
The oil has many non-food uses and, like soybean oil, is often used interchangeably with non-renewable petroleum-based oils in products, including industrial lubricants, biodiesel, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks, depending on the price on the spot market.
The average density of canola oil is 0.92 g/ml.
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