Canola is an important oil crop with approximately 65 million produced annually worldwide, making canola the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world. This high demand is driven by the potential health benefits the oil endows, because it has the lowest levels of saturated fatty acids among all edible oils.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Canola oil is approximately 7% saturated fatty acids and efforts to reduce the amount of saturated fat will greatly improve the health benefits of canola oil. Calyxt is developing a new variety of canola that produces oil with less than 3.5% saturated fat by deactivating one enzyme responsible for the synthesis of saturated fatty acids. This new variety will retain all the important characteristics of traditional canola oil and the agronomic performance that consumers and farmers have come to expect from canola.