Rapeseed (Brassica napus) is the world’s third-largest source of vegetable oil, with the residual protein-rich meal used as feed for livestock. Rapeseed oil is considered a healthy oil because it is low in saturated fatty acids. But it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which results in poor thermal stability. The production of low-carbon nitrogen fertilizer (produced using renewable electricity rather than natural gas) enables the development of rapeseed to produce sustainable, non-toxic and biodegradable substitutes for minerals.
Our research focuses on the key limitation of rapeseed oil for industrial applications: its thermal instability. The main focus has been reducing the content of polyunsaturated fatty acid in a directed way, based on our knowledge of lipid biosynthesis pathways.
The impact from this area is being delivered through a start-up company, Nuspec Oil Ltd.
Professor Ian Bancroft
Professor Bancroft is an expert in plant genomics who formerly worked at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.
Dr Stawniak is interested in exploring the thermal stability of rapeseed oil. She was awarded an Enterprise Fellow from the University of York and is CEO, Co-founder of Nuspec Oil Ltd.