Nutritionally improved rapeseed-mustard, TERI Uttam
Ingraining health and quality
Diet, nutrition, and fats are often the subject of heated debates and animated discussions at dining tables, in laboratories, and on health shows on television. The informed and the health-conscious scrutinize, literally, every grain they eat. No surprise then that the grains of the Indian rapeseed-mustard (Brassica) do not find any takers in the international export market. The high content of erucic acid and glucosinolates in it keeps the international market at bay. Erucic acid is feared to be an agent of cardiac problems and high glucosinolates in the oil cake are not desired for animal feed.
The balancing act
Rapeseed-mustard is the second most important edible oilseed crop in India and its nutritional advantages outdo many other edible oils. It has the lowest amount of harmful saturated fatty acids, and also contains the two essential fatty acids – linoleic and linolenic – that most other edible oils do not possess. The high amounts of erucic acid and glucosinolates define its drawbacks.
In the early 1990s, researchers at TERI took up the challenge to produce a variety that retained the existing nutritional properties and minimized the detrimental effects of the undesired components in the oil and oil-free cake.
About the Indian rapeseed-mustard
The rapeseed-mustard produced in India does not match up to the requisite international standards of canola quality– less than 2% erucic acid and more than 60% oleic acid in the seed oil and less than 30 micromoles of glucosinolate per gram of oil-free cake. The efforts made by Indian scientists to introduce exotic canola quality (commonly known as double-low or 'OO') cultivars met with limited success due to their unsuitability to Indian agro-climatic conditions.
Adding to the dilemma was the fact that erucic acid and glucosinolate contents are governed by multiple recessive genes. Thus, a combination of conventional methods of plant breeding coupled with biotechnological approaches were employed to develop new strains.
On par with the best
The result was the development of seven genetically enhanced rapeseed-mustard strains that have been registered by the ICAR's (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) committee on germplasm registration. Work is under way to combine attributes of high yield and superior nutritional quality in B. juncea genotypes.
TERI Uttam, the first double-low variety in India with high oil content (>43%), is tolerant to pod shattering and white rust. Its high oleic acid content (>60%) gives it longer shelf life. It yielded on par or higher than the national check varieties, when tested at multi locations under the All India Coordinated Research Project on Rapeseed and Mustard, ICAR. T ERI-Uttam has been released for cultivation in Madhya Pradesh; scientists and farmers are enthusiastically looking forward to the first international quality variety for their state.
The canola-quality oil produced from the new variety, fittingly called TERI Uttam, is nutritionally superior. Its oil meal attracts nearly 1.3 times the price commanded in the international market. This has created a larger niche in the market for it to fetch a premium price and substantial foreign exchange.
The new, nutritionally improved oilseed, TERI Uttam, has the potential of commercialization under contract farming for production of new health oils and meals as per international standards. The improved oil-free cake will also benefit the animal husbandry sector. Even with a conservative estimate, the oil and meal together will fetch almost double the price per hectare. Thus, masses too can exercise their right to a healthier option while farmers can get a premium price for the produce.
The enhanced quality strains registered by ICAR
- TERI (OO) R9903 - INGR 04077 [TERI Uttam]; high oil content, canola quality, early maturing B. napus
- TERI-GZ-05 - INGR 04078 [TERI Uphaar]; high oleic and linoleic acid, yellow seeded, double low B. juncea
- TERI (OO) R986-INGR 99007 [TERI Gaurav]; early maturing, dwarf double-low B. napus
- TERI (OO) R985-INGR 99008 [TERI Garima]; high oleic acid, double-low B. napus
- TERI (OE) R09-INGR 98005 [TERI Shyamali]; low erucic acid, high oleic B. napus
- TERI (OE) R03-INGR 98002 [TERI Phaguni]; low erucic-acid, early maturingB. napus
- TERI (OE) M21-INGR 98001 [TERI Swarna]; low erucic acid, yellow-seeded, early maturing B. juncea