Edging out imported oils

Cold-pressed Indian mustard oil,this lot from Yandilla NSW, is great for stir-frying, salad dressings and cakes.

Thanks to new developments in canola breeding, Australia's reliance on imported tropical oils may not last too much longer.

According to Keith White of Agseed Research, new specialty canolas such as Monola contain 10 per cent more oleic acid and 10 per cent less linolenic acid than traditional canolas.

"This broadens their potential use in a wide range of products including pharmaceuticals, detergents, soaps, waxes, resins and lubricants, just to name a few.

"Initially the main use would be in food products such as frying oils, salad oils and margarines," says Dr White.

"We currently have about 1,000 hectares being cropped in trials in western Victoria and central NSW, with a view to moving towards commercial trials of the oil," he added.

The main hurdle still is the large volumes required for industrial uses. "Once an industry decides to switch over to a new source, it needs constant, reliable supplies."

This may take a while as field production needs to be gradual, in line with expanded commercial trials, market development and further cultivar development. Dr White said this is the reason he and his colleagues are working very hard to develop the production and marketing side of Australian specialty oilseeds.

Contact: Dr Keith White 03 5382 1269