Crambe could be an even better oil crop thanks to gene technology

Aug 22, 2014

It is possible to apply genetic modification to the crop crambe so it meets market demands and takes into account what modern society wants. These are the results of research for which Weicong Qi will receive his PhD on 27 August at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR.

Qi has developed a technique to genetically modify crambe without appearing in the crop. Using this technique he was able to steer the manufacture of metabolic substances in a direction that would make the crop more attractive to the processing industry.

Crambe (Crambe abyssinica), a bio-based economy crop, is a source of that will allow industry to become less dependent on petroleum, thus leading to a more .

Biobased Economy

At the moment, however, the quantities of oil this crop produces are too small to meet the needs of industry, which has a particular interest in erucic acid. That is why crambe has been bred for a number of decades. It seems that when Crambe is crossbred, it can produce, at most, 65% erucic acid: too little to make the crop economically viable. That is why the Chinese PhD student Weicong Qi investigated the possibility of enhancing erucic acid production in crambe by applying .

Genetically modifying crambe

Qi has developed a workable system for genetically modifying crambe, and one that does not lead to marker genes in the crop. He used the technique to transfer a gene to crambe which meant the plant could build oil molecules with not two, but three erucic acid molecules on the three available positions on each oil molecule (glycerol). In this way Qi managed to increase the erucic acid levels to more than 75%. According to his co-supervisor, Frans Krens, this is an important step forward. "It's not the whole story, but Qi has shown that this approach can work. A start has been made"

Explore further: Research uses camelina to build better biofuel

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research uses camelina to build better biofuel

Aug 04, 2014

A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

Coming soon: Genetically edited fruit?

Aug 13, 2014

Recent advances that allow the precise editing of genomes now raise the possibility that fruit and other crops might be genetically improved without the need to introduce foreign genes, according to researchers writing in ...

Qi wireless charging standard offers more design freedom

Aug 01, 2014

Wireless charging is getting a new technology treatment which offers more design freedom. The Wireless Power Consortium's advance in its Qi wireless charging standard means that phones and chargers will no ...

Supercharged safflower

May 21, 2012

This scientific achievement has produced safflower seed oil that contains more than 90 per cent of this valuable fatty acid, the highest level of purity of an individual fatty acid currently available in any ...

Oil composition boost makes hemp a cooking contender

Feb 10, 2014

Scientists at the University of York today report the development of hemp plants with a dramatically increased content of oleic acid. The new oil profile results in an attractive cooking oil that is similar ...

Recommended for you

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Nov 21, 2014

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth ...

Plant immunity comes at a price

Nov 21, 2014

Plants are under permanent attack by a multitude of pathogens. To win the battle against fungi, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, they have developed a complex and effective immune system. And just as ...

Evolution: The genetic connivances of digits and genitals

Nov 20, 2014

During the development of mammals, the growth and organization of digits are orchestrated by Hox genes, which are activated very early in precise regions of the embryo. These "architect genes" are themselves regulated by ...

Surrogate sushi: Japan biotech for bluefin tuna

Nov 20, 2014

Of all the overfished fish in the seas, luscious, fatty bluefin tuna are among the most threatened. Marine scientist Goro Yamazaki, who is known in this seaside community as "Young Mr. Fish," is working to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.