Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Plant Physiology and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #203671

Title: Lesquerella: A Domestic Source of Hydroxy Fatty Acids

item Dierig, David

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2006
Publication Date: 11/16/2006
Citation: Dierig, D.A. 2006. Lesquerella: A Domestic Source of Hydroxy Fatty Acids. Agronomy Abstracts. {CD-ROM P24080)

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The genus Lesquerella is a source of three different hydroxy fatty acids (HFA) in their seed oil with applications as a renewable raw material replacement for fossil fuel products. Lesquerella fendleri is the primary species from this genus in the process of commercialization and contains a HFA similar to castor oil, currently the only available commercial hydroxylated oil. Castor has a naturally occurring toxic protein (ricin) and a highly allergenic storage protein that prohibits production and processing in the U.S. About $50 million worth of castor oil is imported every year, primarily from India for industrial uses. L. fendleri is native to arid climates of the desert southwestern U.S. and production will likely occur in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Products targeted from this crop include biolubricants, biofuel additives to increase engine lubricity, biodegradable plastics, coatings, surfactants, and cosmetics. The critical issue to bring this crop to commercialization is scale up of acreage from 100 to 100,000 acres. Data collection, management, and dissemination are essential to address supply chain issues as are agronomics such as crop seeding, herbicides, and plant breeding to improve oil quantity and quality. The economics of production and cost benefit ratios are also needed. The result of this will be further opportunities for market expansion and a proven record of a successful new crop through interaction of the public and private sectors.