Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2016 - Free fatty acids content and fatty acid composition

Free fatty acids content

Average free fatty acids content (0.19%) in Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western is identical to the average in 2015 (0.19%) and slightly higher than the 10-year mean (0.17%) (Figure 4). The average in Manitoba (0.37%) is higher than the average in Saskatchewan (0.14%) and to the Alberta average (0.18%) (Table 5). Higher values are mainly due to seed damage.

Samples that graded No. 2 and No. 3 Canada Western had an average free fatty acids content of 0.30%.

Figure 4, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Free fatty acids content of harvest samples, 2006 to 2016

Free fatty acids content of harvest samples, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, 2006 to 2016
  • Figure 4 details
    Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Free fatty acids content of harvest samples, 2006 to 2016
    2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2006 to 2015
    Free fatty acids content in oil (FFA, %) 0.17 0.15 0.14 0.15 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.13 0.16 0.19 0.19 0.17

Fatty acid composition

Average alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3) content (57.8%) in Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western is slightly higher than the average in 2015 (57.2%) and higher than the 10-year mean (56.6%) (Figure 5).

The average iodine value of the oil from Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western samples is 192.2 units. Iodine value is a measure of the total degree of unsaturation of the oil and, in flaxseed, is heavily influenced by the alpha-linolenic acid content of the oil. The 2016 iodine value is 0.7 units higher than in 2015 and 1.5 units higher than the 10-year mean of 190.7 units (Figure 6). Iodine values for Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western samples from producers across western Canada varied from 178.7 to 203.5 units.

Usually oils with iodine values greater than 188 units are desired by the coatings industry for products such as paints, varnishes and inks, while oils with iodine values around 183 units are preferred by the linoleum industry. Iodine value, like oil content, is influenced by growing temperatures and length of photoperiod.

Figure 5, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western
Percent α-Linolenic acid content of harvest samples, 2006 to 2016

Percent α-Linolenic acid content of Flaxseed, No.1 Canada harvest samples, 2006 to 2016
  • Figure 5 details
    Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Percent α-Linolenic acid content of harvest samples, 2006 to 2016
    2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2006 to 2015
    α-Linolenic acid in oil (FFA, %) 55.7 52.1 56.2 58.0 58.8 57.6 56.8 56.0 57.9 57.2 57.8 56.6

Figure 6, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western
Iodine value of harvest sample, 2006 to 2016

Iodine value of harvest sample of Flaxseed, No.1 Canada harvest samples, 2006 to 2016
  • Figure 6 details
    Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Iodine value of harvest sample, 2006 to 2016
    2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2006 to 2015
    Iodine value (units) 189.6 182.3 189.5 193.4 194.6 192.5 190.7 189.9 192.9 191.5 192.2 190.7
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