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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363170

Research Project: Domestic Production of Natural Rubber and Industrial Seed Oils

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Biotechnology for biobased industrial materials production

item Chen, Grace

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Hydroxy fatty acid (HFA) and its derivatives are used as raw materials for numerous industrial products, such as lubricants, plasticizers and surfactants. Lesquerella contains a major HFA, lesquerolic acid (20:1OH), at 55-60% of seed oil. Therefore, lesquerella is being developed as a new industrial oilseed crop in the US. Biotechnology methods are effective for improving lesquerella through Agrobacteria-mediated genetic transformation. It is known that almost of all of the HFAs in lesquerella are located only at sn1 and sn3 positions of triacylglycerols (TAG). To improve HFA levels in lesquerella seeds, castor lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase genes (RcLPATs) have been introduced into lesquerella. The resulted transgenic lesquerella seeds increased HFA content at the sn2 position of TAG from 2% to 17%, and consequently, oil accumulated 14% more TAGs with all three sn positions occupied by HFA. With the increasing demand for clean and renewable energy, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy have identified lesquerella HFA-methyl esters to be excellent lubricity enhancers in diesel and ultralow sulfur diesel fuels that can replace sulfur-based petroleum lubricity additives. Lesquerella oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) linoleic (18:2) and linoleic (18:3) acids, at ~20%, which affect the oxidative stability. We have designed strategies to reduce PUFA and increase the more desirable oleic acid (18:1) in seed. Our results show a new lesquerella oil that reduces PUFAs from 20% to 5% and increased 18:1 from 17% to 30%. Biotechnology is an effective approach to produce novel biopolymers, such as poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate] (PHB), a renewable biodegradable polymer with potential commercial applications in plastics, chemicals, and feed markets. Since PHB inhibits seed germination, we have designed engineering regimes that allow not only to synthesize high level of PHB in seeds for harvesting, but also to depolymerize PHB for seeds germination.