Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Progress in breeding to improve the hydroxy fatty acid (HFA) content in Lesquerella fendleri seed oil has been slow. The problem appears to be the lack of genetic variation for the trait. Populations of L. fendleri examined from representative collections have HFA contents ranging between 49 and 56%. This is an important problem since lack of improvement prevents the cost of the oil from reaching a competitive price compared to castor, the only similar vegetable oil. L. fendleri is the candidate species for domestication because of its many superior agronomic characteristics. This species has abundant seed yield, extensive variation for oil content, good seed retention, and is adaptable to farm production. However, other species of Lesquerella have much higher levels of HFA seed oil content. Species found in the wild with this type of HFA do not hybridize. The goal of this study was to improve HFA content in L. fendleri through hybridization with other species, all of which have HFA contents above 80%. We found that when L. fendleri was the maternal parent in the cross, the HFA oil content of seed from the hybrid and the maternal plant was very similar. When the maternal plant was another species and L. fendleri was the pollen parent, the HFA oil content of the hybrid was above 80%, similar to the maternal plant. We attributed this to maternal inheritance of HFA oil content. These new hybrids have the potential to reduce the price of the oil from $3 to $1 per pound.