Location: Bio-oils Research2011 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
(1) Elucidate chemistry and characterize unique functional properties of new oilseed crop germplasm. (2) Develop processes that enable the commercial production of oils, meal, gums, and phytochemicals from new oilseed crops such as Lesquerella, Pennycress, Euphorbia, and Coriander. (3) Develop commercially viable lubricants, cosmetics and industrial platform chemicals based on derivatives of components from new oilseed crops.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
New crop development is critical to the future sustainability of United States (US) agriculture by reducing the farmer’s dependence on government subsidies for a select few commodity crops, and by supplementing our need for energy without decreasing food production (food and fuel). A series of new crops and off-season new crops will be developed for different growing regions within the US by developing industrial products and processes from these agricultural feedstocks. A collaborative effort to the development of Cuphea (PSR23), Lesquerella, Pennycress, Camelina, Meadowfoam (limnanthes), Coriander, and Euphorbia will occur: 1) Off-season germplasm development will be supported through developing analytical methods to rapidly analyze protein, oil, and seed quality. Additionally, new crop germplasm resources will be surveyed and publically accessible databases generated; 2) Development of chemical and physical processes that enable the commercial production of new oilseed crops through the isolation of oils, meal, gums, and phytochemicals. Additionally, and most importantly, the new crop raw materials will be produced in pilot scale quantities. Utilization of native lipases located in both the defatted and whole seed will enhance in offsetting oil production costs; and, 3) Development of novel industrial chemicals and processes through organic synthesis based on new crop raw materials derived above. Products to be developed include biodegradable lubricants, bio-based viscosity modifiers, lubricant additives, cosmetics, oxidative products, and saturated medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). Overall, this research will lead to the development of new oilseed crops which will diversify the US farm as well as expend our arsenal of industrial biofriendly chemicals.
3. Progress Report
This is the first year of our new project entitled Development and Utilization of New Oilseed Crops and Products, 3620-41000-158-00D, which replaced Industrial Products from New Crops, 3620-41000-142-00D. Our pilot facility at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, IL, addresses a crucial need in the United States for new crops and product development by creating a location where small scale oil refining of new crop oil seeds and specialty oils as well as pilot synthesis could be accomplished. These oils and products produced were used to obtain and/or supply potential Cooperative Research and Development Agreement(s) (CRADA)(s)/end-user(s) materials for applications in the cosmetics, biofuels, lubricants, coatings, and/or detergents industry as well as to support future milestones. To date, drums of different new crop oils, such as cuphea, lesquerella, pennycress, camelina, coriander, and crambe have been pressed as well as refined, bleached, and deodorized in our facility. Additionally, the use of our 50 gallon glass lined reactor has allowed for the development of new products from these new oils. The two largest projects this past year that encompass the pilot plant involve pennycress and estolides. Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) was commercially grown in the 2010-2011 season on 1,000 acres of land under contract with our pennycress collaborator with farmers in Central Illinois. This commercial production is the result of eight years of research by NCAUR scientists for the production of pennycress with demonstrated properties suitable for biofuel. NCAUR scientists provided consultative oversight for this production, performed the seed increase and released this line to the company two years ago. In the last season, NCAUR scientists identified an elite pennycress line and converted 18 lbs of seed into 3700 lbs of seed for the commercial partners to increase in the fall of 2011. The new line has better germination than the current lines and yields up to 30% more seed with 6% higher oil content. Pennycress seeds harvested from a field near Peoria, IL, in June, 2010, provided the first opportunity to conduct a screw pressing study on a pilot scale. Studies showed that oil extraction by screw pressing pennycress seeds can be easily accomplished with little seed preparation. The best oil quality was obtained by cold pressing whole seeds, but cooking and drying the seed to 3-4% moisture resulted in the maximum oil yield. By double pressing the seed (cold pressing followed by repressing of the press cake), the high yield can still be attained with 90% of the crude oil of high quality. To date, about 19,000 lbs of pennycress seeds have been screw pressed producing 550 gallons of crude oil. Our estolide collaborator has continued to license the patented estolide technology (currently 5-years). The collaborator has signed a new CRADA with NCAUR, continuing their efforts in developing new products and improving the physical properties of the estolide oil. FY 11 marks the first year for a commercial estolide product..
1. Pennycress - the winter annual crop. United States farmers have seen production costs increase over the past five years. Prices for food and crop-based products have also been on the rise, but not at the same rate as the production costs. One way to help reduce these production costs is for farmers to use their land year around for crop production. ARS Bio-Oils Research Unit scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, IL, have identified pennycress as outstanding source of biodiesel. Pennycress yield more than double the amount of oil compared to soybeans. ARS Bio-Oils Research scientists at NCAUR have identified an elite pennycress line and converted 18 lbs of this seed into 3700 lbs of seed for the commercial partner to increase in the fall of 2011. The new seed line has better germination than the current lines and yields up to 30% more seed with 6% higher oil content, which will benefit both the farmer and commercial partner.
2. Estolides - commercialization. There is great demand in the United States and world-wide for increased development of bio-based products. Estolides, which are made from vegetable based fats and oils, have physical properties that can make them a leader in fulfilling the demand for increased development of bio-based lubricants in the United States. ARS Bio-Oils Research Unit scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, IL, refined and improved estolide chemical properties as well as transferred synthetic familiarity with the use of NCAUR’s pilot plant facilities on to the industrial partner. These advancements led to the first commercial estolide product in FY 11.
Harry O Kuru, R.E., Biresaw, G., Cermak, S.C., Gordon, S.H., Vermillion, K. 2011. Investigation of some characteristics of polyhydroxy milkweed triglycerides and their acylated derivatives in relation to lubricity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 59(9):4725-4735.