Submitted to: National Symposium on New Crops and New Uses
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The present trend in human diets is to decrease the consumption of the saturated palmitic and stearic fatty acids. Healthy diets restricting not only total fat, but the saturated portion of that fat would decrease blood serum cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart diseases. Edible vegetable oils are the principal source of fats in many diets. Sunflower oil, which is 4th in production among edible vegetable oils in the world typically contains 6.5% saturated palmitic and 4.5% saturated stearic fatty acids. These levels are high compared to rapeseed oil with 4% palmitic and 2% stearic fatty acids. A reduction of saturated fats in traditional sunflower oil would lead to a healthier edible oil. The objective of this preliminary study was to search the vast genetic diversity available from the wild ancestors of the cultivated sunflower for a potential source of reduced saturated fatty acids. A survey of wild annual Helianthus annuus, the closest relative of the cultivated crop, was undertaken to identify potentially useful populations with low (less than 7% combined) palmitic and stearic fatty acids. Achenes of 86 populations of H. annuus were collected from the central Great Plains of the USA. For each population, a composite sample of 20 achenes was analyzed for saturated fatty acids using organic base-catalyzed transesterification of fatty acid methyl esters and capillary gas chromatography. The average palmitic acid concentration ranged from 3.9% to 6.5% for the populations. Average stearic acid concentrations ranged from 1.9 to 3.7%. Achene oil of one population of wild H. annuus from Holmquist, SD, had a palmitic acid level that averaged 3.9%, while stearic acid averaged 1.9%.