DAN00194 - Increasing market value of canola through improved oil and meal quality traits
Canola breeding programs in Australia have significantly enhanced canola as a commercially attractive oilseed crop, including improvements to oil and meal characteristics. As current breeding programs tend to concentrate on immediate returns, such as increasing yield and oil content, as well as disease and insect resistance and drought tolerance, there has been minimal focus on oil or meal quality.
Over four million tonnes of canola was produced in Australia in 2013, of which approximately 800 thousand tonnes was crushed domestically. The crush capacity in Australia is now in excess of 1 million tonnes. Improvements to the oil quality of Australian canola would have significant implications for the marketability of the product, especially in increasing tocopherol content for improved oxidative stability. End-users have differing requirements when utilising canola for different products, such as the need for high monounsaturated oils for some applications, as well as low polyunsaturated oils for enhanced frying properties. Canola meal is used as a protein source in animal feed, however some animal nutritionist tend to limit the amount used in rations due to anti-nutritional factors in canola meal such as high fibre contents, low digestibility and glucosinolate content. Soybean meal is currently the main protein source in animal feeds, with imports of soybean meal reaching over 600 thousand tonnes in 2012. With improved canola meal, these imports could be replaced with canola meal produced domestically. New areas for growth, such as the replacement of fish meal in aquaculture with plant based protein sources also present an ideal opportunity for the improvement of canola meal quality.
GRDC Project DAN00158 (Improving the market value of canola through improved quality traits) has identified germplasm from the National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Project which shows significant ranges for canola oil components, including fatty acid composition, tocopherols, as well as canola meal components such as Acid Detergent Fibre, Neutral detergent fibre and digestibility. This research project will use material identified in the GRDC project DAN00158 showing extreme values for the components measured. These cultivars will be entered into field trials to determine the GxE interaction on the components. This information will be conveyed to breeders and other industry stakeholders through meetings facilitated with by NSW DPI and the Australian Oilseeds Federation to ensure that project outcomes are financially attractive. The laboratory will use information gathered from the project being tendered to develop NIR calibrations for as many of the traits as possible, to enable breeders to use NIR analysis as a quick screening tool for assessing the level of these components in future breeding lines.
This project will also facilitate strengthening of ties with the Canola Council of Canada, with the opportunity for collaboration and exchange of information. This collaboration will allow researchers from Australia and Canada to better understand the effect of genotype, environment and management on quality traits in canola, and share information on how to improve canola lines. Information from this project will give a greater understanding of the impact of genotype and environment on the quality traits in canola. This material can then be used by canola breeders to include in future breeding lines, increasing the quality of Australian canola.