(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at Montana State University have developed a protein that can be expressed in oilseed crops to increase the oil yield by as much as 40 percent, a development that could have an impact on the biodiesel industry. Patents on this technology have been issued and research is ongoing.
Biodiesel is produced from a wide variety of oilseed crops: In Europe, canola is the major biodiesel crop, while in the U.S. soybeans dominate. The MSU technology has been demonstrated in corn and soybeans and is expected to work for a broad range of oilseed plants used for biodiesel and cooking oil.
Seed oil content increases are induced by capitalizing on certain genes contained in oilseed crops, known as puroindoline genes, which promote increased seed size and weight.
The puroindoline technology represents a novel method to increase the seed oil content compared with other approaches.
Puroindolines are effective in increasing oil content in both cereal and oilseed crops. An additional benefit is enhanced seed resistance to fungal diseases.
Explore further: Oil seed rape grown for biofuel can help clean up toxic soils