NCI Short Course Highlights Functionality of Flax and Canola

April 27, 2011

For Immediate Release

NCI Short Course Highlights Functionality of Flax and Canola

North Dakota raises about 93% of the total U.S. flax and canola crops.

Fargo, N.D., USA – “Flaxseed and canola are important oilseed crops for our region,” says Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., Technical Director at Northern Crops Institute (NCI).  “Both crops are utilized in several ways to improve the functional and nutritional properties in consumer foods.” To support this growing market, NCI is conducting the Functionality of Canola and Flaxseed Short Course this week to help food processors understand the utilization and benefits of flax and canola.  The course runs from April 26-28. 

“Consumers are becoming more health conscious every year and the number of health foods in the U.S. marketplace has significantly increased since the last decade,” says Tulbek. “This market growth has helped flaxseed and canola crops to penetrate new market segments in the market and we anticipate additional growth in the future.”

In the last decade, North Dakota companies started to export significant quantities of flaxseed to several countries. These new markets helped U.S. flax receive global attention,” says Tulbek.  “Our main objective in this program is to educate participants on production, contracting, quality evaluation, milling, end product utilization, shelf life and sensory properties of U.S. flaxseed and canola. Hands-on experiences with multi-grain breads, pasta, tortilla and snack foods help participants understand the impact of flaxseed and canola fortification in food systems,” he concludes.

With today’s emphasis on health, flax and canola are gaining recognition with the nation’s consumers due to their nutritional and health benefits.  “Flaxseed or linseed is an ancient crop that has been used for food and fiber,” says Clifford Hall, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Cereal and Food Sciences, and a lecturer in the course. “Flaxseed contains high levels of omega-3 lipids, fiber, and the phytochemical called lignans. The omega-3 lipids have anti-inflammatory properties are important for reducing cardiovascular disease. Lignans have been shown extensively to inhibit prostate and breast cancers. Fiber from whole flaxseed has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.”

Course topics highlight nutritional benefits of flaxseed and canola; flaxseed production and quality; contracting specialty crops; quality evaluation of flaxseed; flaxseed milling applications; flaxseed in dairy products; canola production and quality; quality evaluation of canola oil; baking with flaxseed and canola oil: pan, hearth, and flat breads; sensory properties of flaxseed and canola oil fortified products; and shelf life stability and evaluation.  Participants also gain hands-on experience in NCI’s analytical and baking laboratories. 

Course speakers and lab technicians include: John Crabtree, NCI Interim Director; Sheri Coleman, Executive Director, Ameriflax; Barry Coleman, Executive Director, Northern Canola Growers Association; Natsuki Fujiwara, NCI Food Technologist; Clifford Hall III, Ph.D., NDSU; Thunyaporn Jeradechachai, NCI Crop Quality Specialist; Hans Kandel, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Frank Manthey, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Rilie Morgan, NCI Processing Specialist; Frayne Olson, Ph.D., NDSU Extension Service; and Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director.