Quality of Canadian oilseed-type soybeans 2022

Fatty acid composition

Table 4 shows the fatty acid composition of No. 1 and No. 2 soybean composites according to province in 2022. Linoleic acid (C18:2), the main fatty acid found in soybean oil, had a mean value of 54.5%, whereas the 2021 mean was 53.8%. Oleic acid (C18:1), the second most important fatty acid in soybeans, had a mean value of 20.3% in 2022, which is much lower than the 2021 mean of 21.9%. The other important unsaturated fatty acid, α-linolenic acid (C18:3), had a mean value of 8.7% (8.2% in 2021). Total saturates had a mean value of 15.5% in soybeans from all of Canada.

Table 4  Main fatty acid content and iodine value of oil in 2022 Soybeans, No. 1 Canada and Soybeans, No. 2 Canada composite samples according to province
Grade Province Fatty acid composition (%, in oil) SFAFootnote 1 Iodine value (units)
Footnote 2
Number of samples Palmitic C16:0 Stearic C18:0 Oleic C18:1 Linoleic C18:2 α-Linolenic C18:3
Soybean, No. 1 Canada and Soybean No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 90 10.5 4.2 21.1 54.4 9.1 15.5 135.5
Saskatchewan 7 10.7 4.5 20.2 53.6 9.2 16.2 134.4
Western Canada 97 10.5 4.2 21.0 54.3 9.1 15.6 135.5
Ontario 131 10.0 4.3 20.6 54.5 8.5 15.5 134.6
Quebec 24 10.7 4.7 20.1 55.2 8.1 15.6 134.5
Eastern Canada 155 10.1 4.4 20.5 54.6 8.4 15.5 134.6
Maritimes 4 10.4 3.7 18.7 56.3 9.2 14.9 138.0
Canada 256 10.5 4.2 20.3 54.5 8.7 15.5 135.0

Iodine value estimates the level of fatty acid unsaturation in oil. The higher the number of double bonds in the oil, the higher the iodine value and level of unsaturation. For 2022, both the mean α-linolenic acid and the mean linoleic acid values were higher than in 2021 and accordingly, the iodine value in 2022 (135.0 units) is higher than in 2021 (133.6 units). Figure 5 presents the iodine value trends since 2006 for eastern Canada, western Canada and all of Canada. The yearly variations reflect the environmental differences, including geographic factors and climatic factors such as temperature and precipitation.

Figure 5  Oil iodine values (units) of Canadian oilseed-type soybeans from 2006 to 2022

Figure 5 Oil iodine values (units) of Canadian oilseed-type soybeans from 2006 to 2022
  • Details
    Iodine value of the oil (units)
    Region 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
    Western Canada 132.9 137.6 138.1 137.8 139.2 132.4 131.2 134.0 140.0 134.5 136.4 134.7 132.4 138.8 136.4 135.9 135.5
    Eastern Canada 138.6 132.8 135.0 137.0 133.6 136.1 132.4 134.2 136.5 133.3 132.0 138.0 133.8 138.3 135.4 132.1 134.7
    Canada 137.7 133.6 135.7 137.2 135.4 134.6 132.1 134.1 137.5 133.7 133.2 137.0 133.5 138.5 135.8 133.6 135.0

There is no requirement to control the fatty acid composition of Canadian oilseed-type soybeans. Varieties can, therefore, show a large variation in fatty acid composition. Weather also plays a role in year-to-year fatty composition variability. In hot and dry conditions, seeds tend to produce an oil with more saturation. For example, seeds will produce less polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as α-linolenic and linoleic acids, and more total saturates and oleic acids. The opposite is observed if seeds are grown in cool conditions.

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