Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2011

Fatty acid composition

The average α-linolenic acid content of 2011 harvest survey Flaxseed, No. 1 CW samples is 57.6%, lower than 2010 at 58.8% and higher than the 10-year mean of 56.8% (Figure 5). Compared to 2010, the average α-linolenic acid content increased by 0.4%, for Manitoba and decreased by 1.7% and 5.0 % for Saskatchewan and Alberta. Flaxseed, No. 1 CW samples from producers across western Canada had a range of linolenic acid content from 51.6% to 61.6%.

The average iodine value of the oil from Flaxseed, No. 1 CW samples is 192.5 units. Iodine value is a measure of the total degree of unsaturation of the oil and in flaxseed is heavily influenced by the linolenic acid content of the oil. The 2011 iodine value is 2.1 units lower than in 2010 and 1.4 units higher than the 10-year mean of 191.1 units (Figure 6). The average iodine value increased by 0.8 units, for Manitoba and decreased by 3.6 and 4.5 units respectively for Saskatchewan and Alberta samples. Flaxseed, No. 1 CW samples from producers across western Canada varied in iodine value from 182.7 to 209.9 units.

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.

The 2010–2011 mean export values in Table 6 shows the α-linolenic acid content at 58.0% and the iodine value at 194.2 units. Flaxseed, No. 1 CW exports will likely produce oils with iodine values of 190 units and higher. Flaxseed exports that are not commercially clean may have lower iodine values than those exports that are cleaned to contain less than 2.5% dockage.

Figure 5. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Percent α-linolenic acid content of harvest survey samples, 1990-2011

Graph showing α-linolenic acid content for 1990–2011. Details in table below.
  • 2011 average: 57.6%
  • 2010 average: 58.8%
  • 2001–2010 mean: 56.8%

The table below displays the percentage of α-linolenic acid in oil from 1990 to 2011 which is illustrated in the graph.

Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Percent α-linolenic acid content of harvest survey samples, 1990–2011
Crop year α-linolenic acid content, %
1990 55.5
1991 56.0
1992 58.8
1993 59.7
1994 59.6
1995 58.1
1996 58.7
1997 58.0
1998 56.8
1999 59.6
2000 58.5
2001 56.8
2002 58.7
2003 53.0
2004 61.0
2005 57.6
2006 55.7
2007 52.1
2008 56.2
2009 58.0
2010 58.8
2011

57.6

Figure 6. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western, Iodine value of harvest survey samples, 1990-2011

Graph showing iodine value for 1990–2011. Details in table below.
  • 2011 average: 192.5
  • 2010 average: 194.6
  • 2001–2010 mean: 191.1

The table below displays the iodine value from 1990 to 2011 which is illustrated in the graph.

Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western - Iodine value of harvest survey samples, 1990–2011
Crop year Iodine value, units
1990 187.0
1991 187.0
1992 194.0
1993 196.0
1994 195.0
1995 193.0
1996 194.0
1997 193.3
1998 190.1
1999 196.0
2000 194.1
2001 190.2
2002 194.8
2003 184.0
2004 199.0
2005 193.4
2006 189.6
2007 182.3
2008 189.5
2009 193.4
2010 194.6
2011 192.5