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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Wild sunflower species from the southeastern United States as potential sources for improving oil content and quality in cultivated sunflower

Authors
item SEILER, GERALD
item GULYA, THOMAS
item Kong, Gary - QDPI, AUSTRALIA

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 8, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Seiler, G.J., Gulya Jr, T.J., Kong, G. 2008. Wild sunflower species from the southeastern United States as potential sources for improving oil content and quality in cultivated sunflower. Proceedings of 17th International Sunflower Conference, June 8-12, 2008, Cordoba, Spain. p. 715-720.

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower oil has the potential to be improved for nutritional and industrial purposes through selection and breeding. 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. 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 information about oil concentration and fatty acid composition is lacking for a number of rare and threatened species. The objective of this study was to evaluate achenes of seven wild sunflower species from the southeastern USA for oil concentration and fatty acid composition of four major fatty acids, palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids and assess their potential for improving oil concentration and quality in cultivated sunflower. Forty-one populations of wild sunflowers were collected between 17 and 28 October, 2003. The expedition covered a distance of 3000 miles in five states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Perennial whorled sunflower, which was described over 100 years ago, but was not rediscovered or recollected until 2002 in Tennessee had an average oil concentration of 32.5%, the highest concentration of any species analyzed in the study, but much lower than 45 to 50 % found in cultivated sunflower. The high linoleic acid concentration in the Confederate daisy or Porter's Golden-Eye of 81.5% was the highest concentration reported for any wild sunflower species. Linoleic acid concentrations for all seven species were higher than expected for populations grown in southern latitudes. The introgression of wild species into cultivated sunflower with different fatty acid profiles and a stable linoleic concentration could facilitate the expansion of commercial sunflower production into the southern latitudes. The lower saturated fatty acid profile in several of the species has the potential to reduce saturated fatty acids in cultivated sunflower. There appears to be sufficient variability to introduce and select for high linoleic acid concentration and reduced saturated fatty acid concentrations in cultivated sunflower oil. Further research will be needed to determine the inheritance of the fatty acids and oil concentration. Other agronomic traits will need to be maintained during the introgression of these traits into cultivated sunflower.

Technical Abstract: 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, resulting in a continuous improvement in agronomic traits. Interest in using wild species in breeding programs has increased, but information about oil concentration and fatty acid composition is lacking for a number of rare and threatened species. The objective of this study was to evaluate achenes of seven wild sunflower species, Helianthus eggertii, H. schweinitzii, H. porteri, H. verticillatus, H. smithii, H. angustifolius, and H. atrorubens, from the southeastern USA for oil concentration and fatty acid composition of four major fatty acids, palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids. Helianthus verticillatus had the highest oil concentration of any species with 324 g/kg and was within the range expected for a wild perennial sunflower species. The high linoleic acid concentration in H. porteri of 815 g/kg is the highest concentration reported for a wild sunflower species. Linoleic acid concentrations for all seven species were higher than expected for populations grown in southern latitudes. The lower saturated fatty acid profile in several of the species indicates that these species have the potential to reduce saturated fatty acids in commercial sunflower oil. Further research will be needed to determine the inheritance of the fatty acids and oil concentration. Other agronomic traits will need to be maintained during the introgression of these traits into cultivated sunflower.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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