Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #135187


item Dewey, Kendra
item Phillips, Bliss
item Cermak, Steven - Steve
item Isbell, Terry

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Cuphea is a new crop that is currently being cultivated in Central Illinois. NCAUR is working on the scale up of this crop which produces medium-length saturated fatty acids. These medium chained fatty acids are currently only available from palm kernel and coconut oils. The development of a new crop often depends on the synthesis of novel compounds. Estolides are one such derivative of new crop oils which show promise in industrial applications. Estolides are formed when the carboxylic acid functionality of one fatty acid links to the site of unsaturation of another fatty acid to form esters. Estolides were derived from cuphea and oleic fatty acids in the presence of varying equivalents of acid with little or no solvent with varying temperatures. The estolides were converted to their corresponding hydroxy fatty acid and the degree of polymerization was determined by GC analysis. The free acid estolides were then converted to the esters under standard conditions. Physical properties (pour points, cloud points and viscosities) of the complex estolide acids and esters were compared to the homo-estolides and coco-estolides, which have current industrial applications. In order to maintain a research program, there is a high demand for research starting materials and in the case of cuphea, oil. Thus, NCAUR has worked intensively on the increased seed production of cuphea. Over the past years a new cross of C. lancelota and C. viscosissima provided resistance to common problems associated with cuphea, such as seed dormancy and seed shattering. This new cross was mechanically planted and harvested in Central Illinois for a second straight season along the side of a corn field. The primary purpose was to increase seed supply as well as develop planting, harvest, and post-harvest information.