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  • RESEARCH: Research findings indicate Newfoundland-grown canola has twice the level of brain healthy fats: Omega-3 fatty acids

    Friday, June 26, 2020
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    Researchers at Grenfell Campus's Functional Foods Sensory Lab have once again published ground-breaking findings with respect to nutrition and health benefits of locally grown foods. 

    Most recently researchers with the Dr. Raymond Thomas Lipids and Functional Foods Research Group published a paper in the Journal of Advanced Research, a journal with a high impact factor of 6.992 (the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited).

    Titled "Canola produced under boreal climatic conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador have a unique lipid composition and expeller press extraction retained the composition for commercial use," the paper's first author is Albert Adu Sey, a PhD student in the School of Science and the Environment. Other authors include Thu Huong Pham, Vanessa Kavanagh, Sukhpreet Kaur, and faculty members Mumtaz Cheemah, Lakshman Galagedara and Raymond Thomas.

    The paper shows that Newfoundland canola oil is unique, with two times the omega-3 fatty acids compared to canola produced anywhere else in Canada or even globally. Canadian scientists actually invented canola and canola oil, giving it its name.

    Canola was grown for the first time in Newfoundland in 2016; the temperature on the island is seven to 10 degrees colder during the growing season than other canola growing regions. The adaptation to surviving and growing in the colder climate in Newfoundland (with forested soils found primarily on sandy deposits) caused the canola to produce twice the omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve cardiovascular and brain health, as well as a new type of healthy triglyceride, called monoacetyl diacylglyceride, which has a role in treating sepsis (the immune system attacking itself), inflammation, arthritis and asthma. The study also showed the use of non-solvent based expeller press processing to be very effective in retaining the unique composition during processing and would be a suitable approach for commercially producing Newfoundland Canola oil.

    "This is the first work published from this study demonstrating huge commercial potential for, and health benefits of, Newfoundland canola oil," said Dr. Thomas. "Newfoundland canola is a unique source of healthy fats with potential application in brain and cardiovascular health as well as asthma and arthritis attenuation. This research further highlights the contributions of the functional foods program at Grenfell Campus in improving the science and commercial development and production of functional foods unique to the province." 

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