Canola is one of Canada’s chief exports. Grown mostly in the prairies, it can be a victim to Canada’s volatile climate and short growing season, leading to a problem known as green seed.
Green seeds are harvested canola seeds that have maintained their chlorophyll content even after the crop has matured, resulting in a green interior as opposed to the expected brown. For oil producers, this means a bitter taste and shorter shelf-life for oils produced from green seeds. For farmers this means a lower crop grade, and thus a lower price for their harvest. Green seed is reported to be responsible for $150 million in annual losses in the canola industry, an industry that is incredibly important to Canada. Worth approximately $27 billion, the canola industry is one of the country’s leading industries, and is one of the main sources of income for farmers throughout Canada.
iGEM Calgary 2019 has accepted the challenge of tackling the green seed problem. To do so, the team seeks to address three key areas: farmers concerns with unpredictable growing seasons and inconsistent grading standards, the quality of oil produced by green seeds, and the economic impact of green seeds and how it can be improved