Canola team recognized for innovative food process
UM food scientist Dr. Martin Scanlon along with other members of the “Green” Processing Research of Canola Science Cluster Team were recent recipients of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) 2023 Gold Harvest Award.
The award recognizes the exceptional and significant contributions made to AAFC in the category of Innovation, Collaboration and Service Excellence, through the development of a unique and innovative two-step extraction process to improve the performance and sustainability of Canada’s canola oil industry.
In addition to Scanlon, the team included Dr. Zhen-Xiang (John) Lu of the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, and Dr. John Shi, Dr. Qingrui Sun, and Dr. Jun (Sophia) Xue, all from AAFC’s Guelph Research and Development Centre. Scanlon is dean of the UM Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and professor in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences.
A summary of the Green Processing Research Team’s project from AAFC’s website reads:
Canola oil, considered one of the world’s three most common vegetable oils (along with soybean and palm oil), contains high levels of naturally occurring Vitamin E. This vitamin, apart from its antioxidant properties, can play an important role in maintaining healthy vision and organ function, including blood, brain, and skin. However, the content of natural Vitamin E found in canola seeds is degraded during traditional oil extraction and refining processes that currently use high temperatures and organic solvents to produce canola oil. This prompted research scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to team up with scientists at the University of Manitoba to find a way to extract more natural Vitamin E from canola seeds grown in Canada, creating even greater value for one of Canada’s most widely produced crops.