Budwig Diet

Linola — a new flaxseed variety low in alpha-linolenic acid

New linseed breed low in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA

from the Australian New Crops Newsletter, Issue No 3, January 1995.

Note to Healing Cancer Naturally site visitors: The below article should only be read in conjunction with Beware of new breed of flaxseed low in alpha-linolenic acid since Linola must not be used by people implementing the Budwig protocol. While Linola with its longer shelf-life etc. is "better" for business, only unmodified natural flaxseed breeds are suitable for use in the Budwig diet.

NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in the Advice on Publications Available found at www.newcrops.uq.edu.au/public1.htm.

9.2 LINOLA (Linum usitatissimum)

Allan Green
CSIRO Division of Plant Industry
GPO Box 1600
Canberra ACT 2601 Australia.

LINOLA TM is the trademark for a new form of linseed that has been specifically bred to produce an oil suitable for human consumption, rather than for the traditional industrial use.

Seed of the linseed (or flax) plant normally produces an oil (linseed oil) that is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that makes the oil highly susceptible to oxidation. This imparts a drying property to the oil and gives it its traditional industrial uses in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, inks and linoleum.

Since the mid 1960s, the demand for linseed oil has remained static, due to the increased usage of synthetic drying agents in these industrial products. Over the same period, the demand for edible oils has risen dramatically, but the low oxidative stability of linseed oil has rendered it unsuitable for use as an edible oil.

Because of the widespread adaptability of the linseed crop to Australian temperate farming regions, CSIRO initiated a research program in 1979 aimed at converting it from a source of industrial oil into one of high-quality edible oil. The objective was to increase the market potential of the oil so that the crop could become a viable alternative to cereal production.

In order to make linseed oil an edible oil, the content of linolenic acid had to be reduced from 50% to very low levels. The lack of adequate variation for fatty acid composition within the species meant that induced mutation techniques had to be used to create new genetic variants.

Following treatment of seed with chemical mutagens, two lines were selected which each had partially reduced levels of linolenic acid, of about 30%. By crossing the two individual mutants and selecting within the progeny, a line with less than 2% linolenic acid was developed.

The mutations involved in this change act by blocking the conversion of the double-unsaturated linoleic acid [an omega-6 fatty acid] into the triple-unsaturated linolenic acid in the developing seed. As a consequence, the low-linolenic mutants have greatly elevated levels of linoleic acid, ranging from 65% to 76% depending on variety and growing conditions.

The large reduction in the unstable linolenic acid resulted in the predicted improvement in oxidative stability. When compared using the AOM method, samples of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) Linola oil showed similar oxidative stability to that of high-linoleic sunflower oil.

In fatty acid composition, Linola oil is similar to the premium polyunsaturated oils, such as sunflower, safflower and corn. It has specific advantages over these oils due to its combination of low saturates and high polyunsaturates; the P/S ratio of around 7.7 is one of the highest available in the major oilseeds.

A promising feature of Linola oil is that its high linoleic acid content has proved to be remarkably consistent across a wide range of growing conditions in Australia, North America and Europe. It is likely to prove a more reliable source for polyunsaturates than sunflower, which often has reduced levels of linoleic acid, due to variable growing conditions.

In the development of Linola varieties, a yellow seed colour marker was also incorporated in order to readily distinguish them from industrial quality linseed varieties, most of which are brown-seeded.

Extensive evaluations of the processing characteristics and quality of Linola seed, oil and meal have been undertaken. These have been conducted through a combination of commissioned studies at the POS Pilot Plant in Saskatoon, Canada and independent analyses conducted by leading companies in the vegetable oil industry.

The combined laboratory, pilot-plant and commercial-scale evaluations have clearly demonstrated that Linola oil can be processed by conventional techniques to produce a high quality polyunsaturated oil suitable for direct use as either a salad oil or for domestic (short-life) frying applications. It is well suited for use as the liquid (soft) fraction in polyunsaturated margarine formulations, and can also be further processed into an oil suitable for commercial (long-life) frying applications.

The meal left after extraction of oil from Linola seed is a valuable source of protein and energy for animal feeding. It has an identical protein and carbohydrate composition to traditional linseed meal, the only difference being that the residual oil component in Linola meal is high in linoleic acid and low in linolenic acid. Linola meal can therefore be used wherever linseed meal is currently used in animal feeding, and is particularly suitable for ruminant feeding (cattle and horses).

As is true of linseed meal, Linola meal has a relatively high content of a soluble fibre known as mucilage. This is indigestible to non-ruminants and therefore reduces the energy value of the meal for pigs and poultry. Research is underway to eliminate the mucilage component and produce Linola meal suitable for inclusion at reasonable levels in pig and poultry rations.

Flaxseed has long been recognised as having beneficial dietary effects through the laxative effects of its soluble fibre (mucilage) component and the healthy fatty acid composition of the oil.

The seed is also one of the richest sources of lignans of all the food grains. These compounds have been shown to have significant anti-cancer effects.

For these reasons there is growing interest in the use of flaxseed for bakery and confectionery applications. Whole seed has long been a traditional component of breads in some European countries, both as a topping and incorporated into the loaf. This application is also expanding in other countries due to increased interest in whole-grain breads. Recently, the use of ground flaxseed as the flour component of bread mixes has also become commercially important in North America.

There should be considerable interest in using Linola seed as a replacement for flaxseed in many of these applications for two reasons. Firstly, because of its negligible content of linolenic acid, Linola seed will be much less susceptible to flavour deterioration than flaxseed. Secondly, the golden yellow colour of Linola seed will make it an attractive topping and also result in a more pleasant loaf colour when used as a flour in breads. Linola seed is currently being evaluated in these markets.

Linola can be grown wherever flax and linseed varieties currently perform well, and also in many other areas where cereals are grown.

Linseed is already a significant oilseed crop in many regions of the world, particularly in cool temperate environments, with an annual world production of around three million metric tonnes. The principal growing areas are Argentina, India, China, Canada, USA and Russia. Additionally, the specialised fibre flax varieties are grown for linen production in a number of countries.

Because the genetic changes involved in eliminating linolenic acid from flaxseed have no effects on any other part of the plant, there are no alterations to agronomic performance associated with the quality change. Linola's better adaptation to cooler environments than other polyunsaturated oilseed crops, such as sunflower and maize, provides a new opportunity to produce highly polyunsaturated oil in high latitude countries such as Canada and northern Europe.

Although Linola can be regarded as a "new crop", the fact that it is derived from flax means that its cultivation methods and agronomy are already well known and understood by farmers. Linola is completely compatible with cereal production systems and can be planted and harvested with the same machinery that is used for cereals and other small grains.

At maturity, the crop does not lodge or shatter so it can be left standing for some time. A further benefit is that the straw remaining after seed harvest can be used for fine paper making applications. A significant amount of straw from linseed is already used for this purpose in north America.

Low-linolenic linseed is a novel development and CSIRO has filed patent applications covering the plants, seeds and seed products in several countries. The first of these was granted in Australia in 1993. Individual Linola varieties are also being protected under Plant Variety Rights. CSIRO has registered the name 'LINOLA' internationally as a trademark to be used exclusively for yellow-seeded low-linolenic linseed derived from the CSIRO mutants.

Linola is being commercialised internationally as a joint venture between CSIRO and United Grain Growers of Canada (UGG). The venture operates two Linola variety breeding programs, one based at the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry in Canberra, and the other in Manitoba, Canada. Production and marketing rights for the Linola varieties owned by the joint venture are licensed to companies in various countries.

Australian and New Zealand rights have been assigned exclusively to Seedex Pty Ltd, a specialist oilseed company that operates a crushing plant at Millicent in South Australia.

In order to produce an "identity preserved" product, the licensees are implementing vertically integrated production and marketing strategies, in which ownership and control of the material is maintained from the farm-gate down through the processing chain to eventual marketing of seed and oil products.

Commercial production commenced in Australia in 1992 with the cultivation of 1700 hectares of the world's first two Linola varieties, 'Wallaga' and 'Eyre'. The area expanded to 8000 hectares in 1994 and is expected to at least double next year. A new Linola variety (Argyle) having higher yield and better lodging resistance will be released in 1994.

A more detailed account of the development of Linola is given in Lipid Technology 1994, 6(2), 29-33.

(LINOLA TM is a registered trademark of CSIRO.)

Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances.

This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter.

Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email: r.fletcher at mailbox.uq.edu.au

Compare Beware of new breed of flaxseed (linseed) low in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acids): Linola/Solin.

Fatty acid composition of FLAX and LINOLA (Linum usitatissimum L.)

Linola is a new form of linseed which produces a high quality polyunsaturated edible oil. Produced through conventional plant breeding, it has low levels of linolenic acid and high levels of linoleic acid.

Linola oil is well suited for uses such as margarines, salad oils and dressings. Ground or whole Linola seed can be used in baking or confectionary. Linola meal can be used in the same applications as linseed meal, primarily as a constituent of ruminent feeds.

Linola is a product of UGG (Canada), distributed in Europe by Nickerson UK.

(Seed oil content : 40 %, percentage of protein : 20-25 %.)

Fatty Acid Profile

  Flax Linola
C16:0 (palmitic) 4-9 6
C18:0 (stearic)
2-4 4
Total saturates 6-13 10
C18:1 (oleic)
14-39 16
Total monounsaturates 14-39 16
C18:2 (linoleic) 7-19 72
C18:3 (alpha-linolenic)
35-66 2
Total polyunsaturate 42-85 74


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