RESEARCHERS from Charles Sturt University have discovered Australian commercial canola contains significant amounts of lutein, a bioactive compound with the potential to prevent macular degeneration.
The discovery is part of the first study of Australian canola for vitamins E and A, and related compounds, and was undertaken by Clare Flakelar as part of her honours degree.
“This is an exciting finding because lutein is receiving a lot of attention for its potential health benefits,” Ms Flakelar said.
“My work has shown that Australian canola contains lutein at levels comparable to those reported from other countries.”
Many of the world’s canola producing countries are undertaking similar work to try to enhance the nutritional value of canola oil.
The work done at CSU is helping the Australian industry keep pace with the rest of the world.
“If consumers start demanding canola oil with additional health benefits, it’s good to know that Australian oil can meet that demand,” Ms Flakelar said.
“We are also looking at the potential to breed new varieties of canola that are high in vitamins A and E and other bioactive compounds.”
The research was funded by the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
The work has been accepted for publication in Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
For details contact Toni Nugent, Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation on 0418 974 775.