Submitted to: Economic Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 18, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Sunflower ranks fourth among field crops grown in the world for the production of edible oil. Sunflower oil is a high quality edible oil because of it's fatty acid composition. The oil also has industrial uses. Oil quantity and quality are important characteristics that need to be maintained as we strive to improve all aspects of sunflower production. The wild ancestors of cultivated sunflower offer the potential to increase the diversity of the oil quality characteristics in cultivated sunflower. The progenitors of cultivated sunflower are good sources of desirable insect and disease characteristics and also have similar fatty acid composition, but a much lower oil concentration. Oil concentration can be quickly increased by introduction of the wild species into the cultivated sunflower, which raises it to an acceptable level. The wild species also offers the potential of lowering the saturated fatty acids making the oil more desirable and competitive with other edible oils. A diversity of fatty acid has been observed in the wild sunflower species and are available for use in oil quality improvement of cultivated sunflower.
Technical Abstract: The cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the four most important annual crops in the world grown for its edible oil. The wild species of the genus Helianthus served as the ancestral stock from which the present cultivated sunflower has evolved. The wild germplasm is a valuable source of traits for improving the cultivated crop. Oil concentration and fatty acid composition were determined in oil of two annual Helianthus species (31 populations) and four perennial species (32 populations) from the prairie provinces of Canada. The highest average oil concentration was observed in annual H. petiolaris with 31.3%. Among the perennial species, H. maximiliani had the highest average oil concentration with 31.1%. Helianthus tuberosus had the highest average palmitic (16:0) acid with 8.0%, while the lowest value was observed in H. petiolaris with 4.0%. The highest stearic (18:0) acid concentration was found in annual H. annuus with 2.4%, while H. petiolaris had the lowest with 2.3%. The highest oleic acid (18:1) was observed in H. petiolaris (18.4%) and the highest linoleic (18:2) was observed in H. pauciflorus ssp. subrhomboideus (77.2%). The variability within the wild species appears to be sufficient for altering oil and fatty acid characteristics in cultivated sunflower.