Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2012
Publication Date: 7/1/2013
Citation: Banuelos, G.S., Dhillon, K., Banga, S.S. 2013. Biofuel crops: production, physiology and genetics. In B.B Singh (Eds.) Oil Seed Brassica's, CABI International, Wallinford, UK. p. 249-276. Interpretive Summary: Over the past couple of decades Brassica oilseed production has increased to become one of the most important world sources of vegetable oil. Improvements in the quality of rapeseed oil and meal have culminated in recognition of the oil as a nutritionally superior edible oil, and the meal as an important source of protein for animal feeds. Amenability of the Brassica genus to biotechnology holds promise for faster increases in yield and quality and for Brassica oilseed crops to become an important source of chemicals including industrial enzymes, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels. This chapter presents a comprehensive review on the origin and interrelationships of the species and includes extensive description on plant breeding. In addition, information is presented on growing Brassica crops under poor quality growing conditions for the purpose of managing selenium in California soils and developing biodiesel products with unproductive soils.
Technical Abstract: Oilseed Brassicas, also known by the trade name of rapeseed-mustard, comprise Brassica napus, B. juncea, B. carinata and three ecotypes of B. rapa. Their current global production exceeds 54 million tons, making them the second-most valuable source of vegetable oil in the world. Besides its pre-eminence as edible oils, Brassica oilseeds are being seriously viewed as renewable sources for biodiesel production, which is currently being explored in the westside of central California on unproductive soils and/or with poor quality water. In this chapter, we are presenting a comprehensive review on the taxonomy of the Brassica genus, ecology, history as a crop, genetic architecture, crop breeding methodologies, approaches for enhancing oil production, growing Brassica under poor quality conditions, weed and disease control, biofuel production, and development of by-products. Importantly, this chapter emphasizes that further research and breeding is essential for increasing seed yield, however, the most realistic and sustainable approach will be to develop a range of Brassica crops that can be grown in unproductive soils, irrigated with a minimum good quality water, and still produce products of economical value, i.e., biofuel.