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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Wild Annual Helianthus Anomalus and Helianthus Deserticola As Potential Sources of Improved Oil Concentration and Quality in Sunflower

Author
item Seiler, Gerald

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2006
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2006.07.007
Citation: Seiler, G.J. 2007. Wild annual Helianthus anomalus and Helianthus deserticola as potential sources of improved oil concentration and quality in sunflower. Industrial Crops and Products. 25:95-100. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2006.07.007

Interpretive Summary: Interest in potential non-food uses of renewable resources has increased in recent years. The oil that accumulates in the seeds of wild and cultivated sunflower is composed of triacylglycerols that exist in the liquid form at room temperature and have a low melting point. The fatty acid composition of the sunflower seed oil determines its suitability for either food or industrial uses. Sunflower oil is a source of fatty molecules that can be used as valuable reagents for industrial purposes by chemical modifications. Sunflower oil can be used in the manufacture of lacquers, copolymers, polyester films, modified resins, plasticizers, and soaps when there is a price advantage to the manufacturer. Sunflower oil also has excellent nutritional properties. It is practically free of significant toxic compounds and has a relatively high concentration of linoleic acid. This polyunsaturated fatty acid is an essential fatty acid not synthesized by humans. Sunflower oil has the potential to be improved for nutritional and industrial purposes through selection and breeding. The narrow genetic base of cultivated sunflower has been broadened by the infusion of genes from wild species, which have provided a continuous source of agronomic traits for crop improvement. Interest in using wild species in breeding programs has increased, but concerns about the introgression of low oil concentration and quality from the wild species persist. Two annual desert species, desert and sand sunflower, are excellent candidates for oil concentration and quality improvement, based on their desert environment. The objective of this study was to collect seed of desert and sand sunflower from the desert southwest USA and assess their potential for improving oil concentration and quality in cultivated sunflower. The sunflower collecting expedition took place from September 16-23, 2000 and covered a distance of 2550 miles in three states: Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. The only desert sunflower population collected had an average oil concentration of 33%, whereas the two populations of sand sunflower had an oil concentration of 43 and 46%, the highest concentration ever recorded in any wild sunflower species. The linoleic fatty acid concentration in the oil of sand sunflower populations was uncharacteristically high for a desert environment, approaching 70%. A linoleic acid concentration of 54% in desert sunflower was more typical for a desert environment. Sand sunflower had the largest seeds and the highest oil concentration of any of the wild sunflower species, and has the same chromosome number (n=17) as cultivated sunflower. These features will facilitate the introduction of genes from this wild annual progenitor into cultivated sunflower. The lower saturated fatty acid profile in this species is also a desirable trait offering the potential to reduce saturated fatty acids in cultivated sunflower. Further research will be needed to determine the inheritance of the fatty acids and oil concentration. Other agronomic traits will need to be monitored during the introgression of these traits into cultivated sunflower oil.

Technical Abstract: Within the past decade, the desire for alternative sources of fuels, chemicals, feeds, and other materials has received increased attention. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) oil has the potential to be improved for nutritional and industrial purposes through selection and breeding. The narrow genetic base of cultivated sunflower has been broadened by the infusion of genes from wild species, which have provided a continuous source of agronomic traits for crop improvement. The genus Helianthus is comprised of 51 species and 19 subspecies with 14 annual and 37 perennial species. Interest in using wild species in breeding programs has increased, but concerns about the introgression of low oil concentration and quality from the wild species persist. Two annual desert species, Helianthus anomalus and H. deserticola, are excellent candidates for oil concentration and quality improvement, based on their desert environment. The objective of this study was to collect achenes of H. anomalus and H. deserticola from the desert southwest USA and assess their potential for improving oil concentration and quality in cultivated sunflower. The sunflower collecting expedition took place from 16 to 23 September 2000 and covered a distance of 4100 kilometers in three states: Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. The only H. deserticola population collected had an average oil concentration of 330 g per kg, whereas the two populations of H. anomalus had an oil concentration of 430 and 460 g per kg, the highest concentration ever recorded in any wild sunflower species. The linoleic fatty acid concentration in the oil of H. anomalus populations was uncharacteristically high for a desert environment, approaching 700 g per kg. A linoleic acid concentration of 540 g per kg in H. deserticola was more typical for a desert environment. H. anomalus has the largest achenes and the highest oil concentration of any of the wild sunflower species, and the same chromosome number (n=17) as cultivated sunflower. These features will facilitate the introduction of genes from this wild annual progenitor into cultivated sunflower. The lower saturated fatty acid profile in this species is also a desirable trait offering the potential to reduce saturated fatty acids in cultivated sunflower. Further research will be needed to determine the inheritance of the fatty acids and oil concentration. Other agronomic traits will need to be monitored during the introgression of these traits into cultivated sunflower oil.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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