Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Vegetable oils derived from the major U.S. grain crops, such as soybean, represent a potential renewable and biodegradable feedstock for industry. The industrial value of these oils, however, is typically limited by their fatty acid composition. Soybean oil, for example, contains too much fatty acid unsaturation for most lubricant applications and too little unsaturation for many drying oil applications. By transgenically manipulating the expression of fatty acid desaturase genes, soybean lines can be generated that are suited for either of these applications. In addition, considerable progress has been made in producing novel fatty acid structures in seed oils of crop plants. This has been achieved by transferring genes for specialized fatty acid modifying enzymes from plants that have poor agronomic properties to existing oilseed crops. A wide range of oils have been produced through this approach, including those enriched in fatty acids with epoxy and hydroxyl groups and conjugated double bonds. These types of oils can be used in industrial applications, such as plasticizers, drying oils, adhesives, and nylon and composite precursors. Though the ability to generate these oils holds tremendous potential, researchers have yet to produce transgenic seeds that accumulate large amounts of novel fatty acids. This is due primarily to an incomplete understanding of factors that have evolved for the proper metabolism of these fatty acids. In addition to technical problems, the costs associated with the development, regulatory approval, and possible need for identity preservation, threaten to limit the production of industrially-enhanced transgenic oilseeds.