Submitted to: Journal Of Industrial Crops And Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 17, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Seed yields and other related plant characteristics of Lesquerella fendleri must be improved for this potential new crop to be successfully commercialized. Available plants now being used for breeding have come from only a few of the areas where lesquerella grows wild. Populations found in other locations may have better qualities which could help improve the crop. We have collected a number of new populations of L. fendleri and other related species that had not previously been available in the national germplasm system. These new collections were evaluated to determine the most promising plants for breeding purposes. Some of these new collections have traits that will improve the crop, such as larger seed size and improved quality of oil. The information and seed from these new plants will benefit industry developing lesquerella as a source of seed-oil containing hydroxy fatty acids and help in the development of an alternative crop for U.S. agriculture.
Technical Abstract: Lesquerella fendleri (Gray) Wats. (Brassicaceae) is a prime candidate as a potential new crop source of hydroxy fatty acids (HFA). Presently, castor oil and its derivatives are the only commercial source of these industrial fatty acids. Seed-oil from species of Lesquerella and the closely related genus Physaria contain major amounts of HFA. To obtain more diversity for crop improvement, germplasm collections from various species of the genera Lesquerella and Physaria have been made in selected portions over the past two years. Forty four new accessions of L. fendleri were added in 1993. A total of 38 accessions from nine other Lesquerella species, and three accessions of two different Physaria species were also collected that year. In 1994, 41 additional accessions of L. fendleri and 51 accessions of ten other species were collected. Twelve of these species were not previously available in the NPGS. The number of accessions of L. fendleri and other species already available in NPGS was significantly increased. Populations of L. fendleri collected in Arizona had higher seed weights than those collected from Texas and New Mexico. The seed weights of these new populations are higher than germplasm presently in the USDA-ARS breeding program. Diverse growth habits were found in populations from all three states. Other species of Lesquerella, such as L. douglasii, were found to have the same content of seed oil as L. fendleri and were very productive plants. The two P. newberryii accessions had seed weights that ranged between 4.5 and 6.2 g /1000 seed, compared to the seed weights of L. fendleri that ranged between 0.25 and 1.1 g/1000 seed. Seed oil contents of P. newberryii were also higher.