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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Status of industrial crops in the U.S.

item Isbell, Terry

Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/8/2007
Publication Date: 10/8/2007
Citation: Isbell, T. 2007. Status of industrial crops in the U.S. [abstract]. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops. p. 2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: As a result of increased consumption of fuel and petroleum-derived products, interest in fuels and products derived from agricultural materials has significantly increased issuing in an apparent new age for agriculture. To meet this demand for fuels, focus has been placed on carbohydrates and fats derived from traditional and new crops. This presentation will be directed toward the utilization of seed oils as fuels and industrial chemicals. The fast and short-term answer to biodiesel has always been soybean. Unfortunately, soybean oil has several shortcomings in its effort to supply the U.S. market. First and foremost is the fact that if all current soybean oil was converted to biodiesel, we could only supply 12% of the U.S. diesel demand. Furthermore, we would not begin to address all of the specialty chemical needs such as plastics, lubricants, coatings, and the thousands of other products derived from petroleum. Established oilseed crops such as canola, rapeseed, sunflower, and flax have high oil yields per ha and can meet some of the burden for fuel production. However, these oils are used extensively in food and the resulting balance between food vs. fuel must be considered. New crops that can be grown in rotation with the more traditional crops, off-season production and utilization of acreage not currently under cultivation will also play a role in meeting these industrial needs. Pennycress, camelina and Brassica juncea have potential as over winter crops in rotation with soybean production throughout the Midwest. The high oil content and the fatty acid profiles of these mustard crops make them suitable for utilization as both fuels and base stocks for functionalized industrial chemicals. Coriander, meadowfoam, cuphea, and lesquerella provide novel chemical moieties that make them desirable for a wide range of industrial chemicals. Lastly, exploration of new plant species, particularly plants native to regions where there is little current agricultural activity, will be necessary to identify potentially novel materials and growing regions if we are to fully meet the needs of a future with limited petroleum resources.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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