Chinese scientists said they have developed two improved varieties of rape the oil contents of which are the highest of their kind in the world.
Using genetically engineered technology, a group of scientists headed by Chen Jinqing from the Zhejiang Provincial Academy of Agriculture increased the oil content of one of the improved varieties to 52.8 percent, the highest in the world. The oil content of the other improved variety is 47 percent.
The world-wide average oil content of rapeseed is around 42 percent.
The two varieties have recently passed the examination of a group of experts, including Shen Yungang, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
One of the varieties is for production of cooking oil while the other is for production of industrial oil, according to the experts.
Rape is the second biggest oil-producing plant in the world and rapeseed oil is the third most important cooking oil after soybean oil and palm oil.
China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of rapeseed oil, produces one third of the world's rape.
Sources of the academy said the scientists concerned have obtained patented rights for the core technology of the production of the two varieties from China, the United States, Canada, Germany and Australia.
A 100 ha production center has been set up to commercialize the new variety, according to the sources.
(Xinhua News Agency January 8, 2002)