Oilseed rape quality targets will depend on the end user’s required specification . The main traits to consider are glucosinolate levels and percent oil content. Crop nutrition will have influences on both of these traits and to achieve the required specification it is important the crop receives the correct balanced nutrition. The use of the oil depends on the contents of these two factors, in addition to erucic acid which no longer is present in the plant material.
Oilseed rape has the following uses:
Oilseed rape oil was formerly considered unfavorable for human diet because high content of erucic acid resulted unpleasant taste. Breeding programs have decreased erucic acid from 40% to 0%, while polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid and linolenic acid) of the total fatty acids have increased from 15% to 20% and from 8% to 12%, respectively.
Compared to other vegetable oils it has the lowest saturated fatty acids (6 – 8%) of the total fatty acids and it is rich in plant sterols. There is a high proportion of mono unsaturated oil acid with 58 – 60% of the total fatty acids. It has a sufficient content of linoleic acid (20 – 26%) and linolenic acid (10%) of the total fatty acids and the proportion of linoleic acid to linolenic acid is favorable (2.5:1).
Oilseed rape oil contains adequate levels of tocopherols, i.e. Vitamin E. The table shows a comparison between different oil crops.