Canola refers to both an edible oil (also known as canola oil) produced from the seed of any of several varieties of the rape plant, and to those plants, namely a cultivar of either rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) or field mustard/turnip rape (Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, syn. B. campestris L.). Consumption of the oil is common and, unlike rapeseed, does not cause harm in humans and livestock. It is also used as a source of biodiesel. Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed at the University of Manitoba, Canada, by Keith Downey and Baldur R. Stefansson in the early 1970s, and had a different nutritional profile, in addition to much less erucic acid. In the international community, canola is generally referred to as rapeseed 00 or double zero rapeseed to denote both low glucosinolates and low erucic acid. In addition to varieties from the traditional B. rapa and B. napus species, recent cross-breeding of multiple lines of B. juncea have enabled this mustard variety to be classified as a canola variety by lowering both erucic acid and glucosinolates to the market standards, achieving ‘LEAR’ status (for low erucic acid rapeseed). It may also be referred to as canola oil and, according to the Canola Council of Canada, is considered safe for human consumption.
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