Submitted to: Great Lakes Regional American Chemical Society Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2004
Publication Date: October 20, 2004
Citation: Cermak, S.C., Isbell, T., Behle, R.W. 2004. 2004 cuphea progress in Illinois. Great Lakes Regional American Chemical Society Symposium. Technical Abstract: Cuphea (Lythraceae) is an annual plant that produces a small oil seed rich in saturated medium-chain triacyglycerols. The initial oil characterization of a number of cuphea species was done at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research Center in Peoria, Illinois, in the early 1960's. Oil from cuphea seed consists mainly of medium-chain fatty acids which are used in the formation of lubricants, soaps and detergents. During the 2004 season, cuphea was grown at 4 different locations in Illinois: Oak Hill, Havana, Trivoli and Urbana-Champaign. Our lab has successfully planted and harvested cuphea over the past 5 consecutive seasons. Some challenges that cuphea has, as a new crop, are an indeterminate growth and a small seed size. With indeterminate growth, the plant flowers continuously throughout the growing season, which is a problem because the early maturing seed pods shatter and drop their seed before harvest. In most cases the plant is harvested 'green' with moisture level greater than 50%. So without an effective method to deal with high moisture content of the seed, cuphea would not be a successful new crop. We will present the different problems associated with growing cuphea followed by how these challenges were addressed. Also seed yields and herbicides types will also be addressed as well future planting conditions and locations.