Accumulation of medium-chain, saturated fatty acyl moieties in seed oils of transgenic Camelina sativaReport as inadecuate

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With its high seed oil content, the mustard family plant Camelina sativa has gained attention as a potential biofuel source. As a bioenergy crop, camelina has many advantages. It grows on marginal land with low demand for water and fertilizer, has a relatively short life cycle, and is stress tolerant. As most other crop seed oils, camelina seed triacylglycerols TAGs consist of mostly long, unsaturated fatty acyl moieties, which is not desirable for biofuel processing. In our efforts to produce shorter, saturated chain fatty acyl moieties in camelina seed oil for conversion to jet fuel, a 12:0-acyl-carrier thioesterase gene, UcFATB1, from California bay Umbellularia californica Nutt. was expressed in camelina seeds. Up to 40% of short chain laurate C12:0 and myristate C14:0 were present in TAGs of the seed oil of the transgenics. The total oil content and germination rate of the transgenic seeds were not affected. Analysis of positions of these two fatty acyl moieties in TAGs indicated that they were present at the sn-1 and sn-3 positions, but not sn-2, on the TAGs. Suppression of the camelina KASII genes by RNAi constructs led to higher accumulation of palmitate C16:0, from 7.5% up to 28.5%, and further reduction of longer, unsaturated fatty acids in seed TAGs. Co-transformation of camelina with both constructs resulted in enhanced accumulation of all three medium-chain, saturated fatty acids in camelina seed oils. Our results show that a California bay gene can be successfully used to modify the oil composition in camelina seed and present a new biological alternative for jet fuel production.

Author: Zhaohui Hu , Qian Wu , Jyoti Dalal, Naresh Vasani, Harry O. Lopez, Heike W. Sederoff, Rongda Qu



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