Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2016 - Quality data by province and western Canada

Quality data by province and western Canada

Tables 4 and 5 show detailed information on the quality of top grade western Canadian (CW) flaxseed harvested in 2016. Of the flaxseed samples submitted to the Grain Research Laboratory, 86% were graded as No. 1 Canada Western with the remaining 14% consisting of No. 2 Canada Western, No. 3 Canada Western and Sample grade. The number of harvest samples collected from each province may not represent the actual production or grade distribution. However, there were sufficient samples to provide good quality information for each province. To calculate western Canadian averages, provincial averages are weighted by the Statistics Canada production estimate and an estimate of grade distribution.

Oil and protein content give quantitative estimates of the value of the seed as a source of oil and of the resulting meal as a source of protein for animal feed. Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid which literature has shown can play an important role in maintaining good health in humans and animals Footnote1. It is the main factor in the increased use of whole and ground flaxseed in cereals and baked goods, and flaxseed oil in salads. Flaxseed is also used in animal feeds, for example in chicken to produce omega-3 eggs.

Iodine value is a measure of the overall unsaturation of the oil and can be calculated from the fatty acid composition. Oils with higher iodine values, i.e., with more unsaturation, polymerize more rapidly in the presence of air. In flaxseed, iodine value is directly related to the amount of alpha-linolenic acid present in the oil. Alpha-linolenic acid is one of the most important quality factors for industrial use as it is responsible for most of flaxseed oil’s drying properties.

Table 4, Quality data for 2016 western Canadian flaxseed
Grade Number of
samples
Oil contentFootnote2, % Protein contentFootnote3, % Iodine content, %
Mean Min. Max. Mean Min. Max. Mean Min. Max.
No. 1 CW 192 45.6 41.4 49.7 21.8 17.2 25.6 192.2 178.7 203.5
Manitoba 34 45.2 42.0 48.4 22.2 18.6 24.9 190.3 182.5 197.5
Saskatchewan 132 45.6 41.4 49.7 21.5 17.2 24.9 192.6 178.7 203.5
Alberta 26 45.5 42.0 48.1 23.3 18.5 25.6 192.4 181.9 197.2
No. 2 CW 15 45.6 41.7 49.8 21.4 18.5 24.8 192.4 186.6 198.0
No. 3 CW 16 45.6 42.4 48.2 21.3 18.3 23.3 193.0 185.0 200.1
Sample 1 44.5 - - 17.8 - - 196.5 - -
Table 5, Fatty acid composition and free fatty acids content of 2016 Canadian flaxseed
Grade Number of
samples
Fatty acid compositionFootnote4, % Free fatty acids
C16:0 C18:0 C18:1 C18:2 C18:3
No. 1 CW 192 5.2 3.5 18.1 14.7 57.8 0.19
Manitoba 34 5.3 3.7 18.2 15.2 56.6 0.37
Saskatchewan 132 5.2 3.4 18.0 14.5 58.1 0.14
Alberta 26 5.0 3.4 18.0 14.8 57.7 0.18
No. 2 CW 15 5.1 3.6 18.0 14.3 58.1 0.25
No. 3 CW 16 5.2 3.3 17.5 15.1 57.9 0.34
Sample 1 5.2 3.0 16.5 14.4 60.1 1.85
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