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Canola

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Canola refers to a cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

 of either Rapeseed
Rapeseed
Rapeseed , also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae...

 (Brassica napus L.) or Field Mustard (Brassica campestris L. or Brassica Rapa var.). Its seeds are used to produce edible oil suitable for consumption by humans and livestock. The oil is also suitable for use as biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

.

Originally, Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 by Keith Downey
Keith Downey
Richard Keith Downey, OC, FRSC is a Canadian agricultural scientist and, as one of the originators of canola, became known as the "Father of Canola"....

 and Baldur R. Stefansson in the early 1970s, but it has a very different nutritional profile in addition to much less erucic acid. The name "canola" was derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978. Genetically modified rapeseed is sometimes referred to as Rapeseed 00. A product known as LEAR (for low erucic acid rapeseed) derived from cross-breeding of multiple lines of Brassica juncea
Brassica juncea
Brassica juncea, also known as mustard greens, Indian mustard, Chinese mustard, and leaf mustard, is a species of mustard plant. Subvarieties include southern giant curled mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as kale, but with a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor...

may also be referred to as canola oil and is considered safe for human consumption.

History




Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding from rapeseed
Rapeseed
Rapeseed , also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae...

, an oilseed plant already used in ancient civilization as a fuel. The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin word “rapum,” meaning turnip. Turnip
Turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...

, rutabaga
Rutabaga
The rutabaga, swede , turnip or yellow turnip is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip; see Triangle of U...

, cabbage
Cabbage
Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne of the Family Brassicaceae and is a leafy green vegetable...

, Brussels sprouts, mustard
Mustard plant
Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small mustard seeds are used as a spice and, by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids, are turned into the condiment known as mustard or prepared mustard...

, and many other vegetables are related to the two natural canola varieties commonly grown, which are cultivars of Brassica napus and Brassica rapa
Brassica rapa
Brassica rapa L. , commonly known as turnip, turnip rape, field mustard or turnip mustard is a plant widely cultivated as a leaf vegetable , a root vegetable , and an oilseed .In the 18th century the turnip and...

. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid
Erucic acid
Erucic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, denoted 22:1 ω-9. It has the formula CH37CH=CH11COOH. It is prevalent in rapeseed, wallflower seed, and mustard seed, making up 40-50% of their oils...

 content.

Hundreds of years ago, rapeseed oil was used as a fuel in lamps in Asia and Europe. The Chinese and Indians used a form of rapeseed oil that was unrefined (natural). Its use was limited until the development of steam power, when machinists found rapeseed oil clung to water- or steam-washed metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 surfaces better than other lubricants. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 saw high demand for the oil as a lubricant for the rapidly increasing number of steam engines in naval and merchant ships. When the war blocked European and Asian sources of rapeseed oil, a critical shortage developed and Canada began to expand its limited rapeseed production.

After the war, demand declined sharply and farmers began to look for other uses for the plant and its products. Rapeseed oil extracts were first put on the market in 1956–1957 as food products, but these suffered from several unacceptable characteristics. Rapeseed oil had a distinctive taste and a disagreeable greenish colour due to the presence of chlorophyll
Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρος, chloros and φύλλον, phyllon . Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light...

. It also contained a high concentration of erucic acid
Erucic acid
Erucic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, denoted 22:1 ω-9. It has the formula CH37CH=CH11COOH. It is prevalent in rapeseed, wallflower seed, and mustard seed, making up 40-50% of their oils...

. Experiments on animals have pointed to the possibility that erucic acid, consumed in large quantities, may cause heart damage, although Indian researchers have published findings that call into question these conclusions and the implication that the consumption of mustard or rapeseed oil is dangerous. Feed meal from the rapeseed plant also was not particularly appealing to livestock, due to high levels of sharp-tasting compounds called glucosinolate
Glucosinolate
The glucosinolates are a class of organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen and are derived from glucose and an amino acid. They occur as secondary metabolites of almost all plants of the order Brassicales , but also in the genus Drypetes .-Chemistry:Glucosinolates are water-soluble...

s, and they would not eat it.

A variety developed in 1998 is considered to be the most disease- and drought-resistant Canola variety of rapeseed to date. This and other recent varieties have been produced by using genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

. Currently, 82% of the rapeseed crops planted in Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 are GM (genetically modified
Genetically modified food
Genetically modified foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms . Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques...

) herbicide-tolerant canola varieties.

Canola was originally a trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

, but is now a generic term for edible varieties of rapeseed oil. In Canada, an official definition of canola is codified in Canadian law.

Production and trade


Rapeseed was once considered a specialty crop
Crop
Crop may refer to:* Crop, a plant grown and harvested for agricultural use* Crop , part of the alimentary tract of some animals* Crop , a modified whip used in horseback riding or disciplining humans...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, but Canola now has become a major American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 cash crop
Cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...

. Canada and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 produce between 7 and 10 million tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s of canola seed per year. Annual Canadian export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

s total 3 to 4 million tonnes of the seed, 800,000 tonnes of canola oil and 1 million tonnes of canola meal. GM canola may not be grown in any of the countries banning GMO
GMO
A GMO is a genetically modified organism.GMO may also refer to:* Gell-Mann–Okubo mass formula in particle physics* General Medical Officer, a designation for United States Army soldiers* Generalised molecular orbital theory, in chemistry...

s and some of those even ban importation of the end products. Within the United States, 90% of the canola crop is grown in North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

.

Rapeseed is the highest-producing oil-seed crop in the USA. An Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a coeducational, public research university located in Corvallis, Oregon, United States. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees and a multitude of research opportunities. There are more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the...

 researcher has determined that growing winter rapeseed for hybrid Canola seed appears possible in central Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, USA, but the state prohibits it from being grown in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties because it may attract bees away from specialty seed crops such as carrot
Carrot
The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh...

s, which require bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

s for pollination
Pollination
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilisation and sexual reproduction. Pollen grains transport the male gametes to where the female gamete are contained within the carpel; in gymnosperms the pollen is directly applied to the ovule itself...

. The rapeseed blossom is a major source of nectar
Northern Nectar Sources for Honeybees
The nectar source in a given area depends on the type of vegetation present and the length of their bloom period. What type of vegetation will grow in an area depends on soil texture, soil pH, soil drainage, daily maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, extreme minimum winter temperature,...

 for honeybees.

The major customers of canola seed are Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, while the bulk of canola oil and meal goes to the United States, with smaller amounts shipped to Mexico, China, and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. World production of rapeseed oil in the 2002–2003 season was about 14 million metric tons.
In the 2010–2011 season, world production is estimated to be at 58.4 million tonnes. The United States is a net consumer of canola oil, having used 3 billion pounds in 2010, 2.5 billion of which was imported from Canada.

The main price-discovery mechanism for worldwide canola trade is the ICE Futures Canada (formerly Winnipeg Commodity Exchange
Winnipeg Commodity Exchange
The Winnipeg Commodity Exchange is the former name of a derivatives market based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada now known as ICE Futures Canada. Futures and options contracts are electronically traded in western barley and canola ....

) canola futures contract. Rapeseed is traded on the Euronext
Euronext
Euronext N.V. is a pan-European stock exchange based in Amsterdam and with subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. In addition to equities and derivatives markets, the Euronext group provides clearing and information services...

 exchange.

Canola oil



Canola oil is made at a processing facility by crushing the rapeseed. Approximately 43% of a seed is oil. What remains is a rapeseed meal that is tolerated by livestock and has become a high quality animal feed
Compound feed
Compound feeds are feedstuffs that are blended from various raw materials and additives. These blends are formulated according to the specific requirements of the target animal...

. 22.68 kilograms (50 pounds) of rapeseed makes approximately 10 liters (2.64 US gallons) 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.

The oil has many non-food uses, and often replaces non-renewable resource
Non-renewable resource
A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, grown, generated, or used on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate, once depleted there is no more available for future needs. Also considered non-renewable are resources that are consumed much faster than nature...

s in products including industrial lubricant
Lubricant
A lubricant is a substance introduced to reduce friction between moving surfaces. It may also have the function of transporting foreign particles and of distributing heat...

s, biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s, candle
Candle
A candle is a solid block or cylinder of wax with an embedded wick, which is lit to provide light, and sometimes heat.Today, most candles are made from paraffin. Candles can also be made from beeswax, soy, other plant waxes, and tallow...

s, lipstick
Lipstick
Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many varieties of lipstick are known. As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women...

s, and newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

 ink
Ink
Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill...

s.

The average density of canola oil is 0.92 g/ml.

Health benefits

Compound Family % of total
Oleic acid
Oleic acid
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable fats. It has the formula CH37CH=CH7COOH. It is an odorless, colourless oil, although commercial samples may be yellowish. The trans isomer of oleic acid is called elaidic acid...

ω-9
61%
Linoleic acid
Linoleic acid
Linoleic acid is an unsaturated n-6 fatty acid. It is a colorless liquid at room temperature. In physiological literature, it has a lipid number of 18:2...

ω-6
21%
Alpha-linolenic acid
Alpha-linolenic acid
α-Linolenic acid is an organic compound found in many common vegetable oils. In terms of its structure, it is named all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 18:3 ....

ω-3
11% 9%
Saturated fatty acids
7%
Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. Its molecular formula is CH314CO2H. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees . Palmitate is a term for the salts and esters of...

4%
Stearic acid
Stearic acid
Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

2%
Trans fat
Trans fat
Trans fat is the common name for unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid. Because the term refers to the configuration of a double carbon-carbon bond, trans fats are sometimes monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, but never saturated....

0.4%

Canola oil is low in saturated fat
Saturated fat
Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms...

 (less than 7%), is high in monounsaturated fat
Monounsaturated fat
In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fats or MUFA are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded...

, and has a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acid
N−3 fatty acids are essential unsaturated fatty acids with a double bond starting after the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain....

 profile (which has well established heart health benefits) and is recognized by many health professional organizations including the American Dietetic Association
American Dietetic Association
The American Dietetic Association is the United States' largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, with nearly 72,000 members. The American Dietetic Association is officially changing its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The announcement was made Saturday, September...

, and American Heart Association
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas...

. Canola oil has been given a qualified health claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on the theory that the absence of saturated fats (consumption of which may cause coronary heart disease) in the oil content makes it a healthy food.

Erucic acid issues



Although wild rapeseed oil contains significant amounts of erucic acid, a known toxin, the cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

 used to produce commercial, food-grade canola oil was bred
Plant breeding
Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the genetics of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular...

 to contain less than 2% erucic acid, levels that are not believed to cause harm in humans and no health effects have been associated with consumption by humans of the genetically modified oil. Although rumors that canola oil can cause dangerous health problems circulated, there is no reason to believe canola oil poses unusual health risks and its consumption in food-grade forms is generally recognized as safe
Generally recognized as safe
Generally recognized as safe is an American Food and Drug Administration designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act food additive tolerance requirements.-History:On January 1, 1958,...

 by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Biodiesel



Because of the lower levels of the toxic and irritating properties of genetically modified rapeseed oil, Canola oil is a more promising source for manufacturing biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

 than the natural oil as a renewable alternative to fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s.

Genetic modification issues



A genetically engineered
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 rapeseed that is tolerant to herbicide
Herbicide
Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are pesticides used to kill unwanted plants. Selective herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often synthetic "imitations" of plant...

 was first introduced to Canada in 1995. Today 80% of the acres sown are genetically modified canola. A 2010 study conducted in North Dakota found herbicide resistant transgene
Transgene
A transgene is a gene or genetic material that has been transferred naturally or by any of a number of genetic engineering techniques from one organism to another....

s in 80% of wild natural rapeseed plants. The escape of the genetically modified plants has raised concerns that the build-up of herbicide resistance in feral canola and related weeds could make it more difficult to manage these plants using herbicides.

Legal issues


Genetically modified rapeseed, canola, has become a point of controversy and contentious legal battles. In one high-profile case (Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser
Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser
Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser [2004] 1 S.C.R. 902, 2004 SCC 34 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada case on patent rights for biotechnology. The court heard the question of whether growing genetically modified plants constitutes "use" of the patented invention of genetically modified plant...

) the Monsanto Company sued Percy Schmeiser
Percy Schmeiser
Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada. He specializes in breeding and growing canola. He became an international symbol and spokesperson for independent farmers' rights and the regulation of transgenic crops during his protracted legal battle with agrichemical company...

 for patent infringement after his field was contaminated with Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready glyphosate-tolerant canola. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 ruled that Percy was in violation of Monsanto's patent because he knew Monsanto's variety was growing on his land, but he was not required to pay Monsanto damages since he did not benefit financially from its presence. On March 19, 2008, Schmeiser and Monsanto Canada Inc. came to an out-of-court settlement whereby Monsanto would pay for the clean-up costs of the contamination, which came to a total of $660 Canadian.

The introduction of the genetically modified crop to Australia is generating considerable controversy. Canola is Australia's third biggest crop, and is used often by wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 farmers as a break crop
Break crop
Break crop is a term for the secondary crop within the practice of sustainable agriculture with intensive arable farming whereby as part of a crop rotation, a physiologically different crop is inserted into the main cropping plan in order to provide a "break" from the cycle of weeds, pests and...

 to improve soil quality. As of 2008 the only genetically modified crops in Australia were non-food crops: carnations and cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

. In 2003, Australia's gene technology regulator approved the release of canola altered to make it resistant to Glufosinate ammonium, a herbicide.

External links