The technical objective of the project has been to improve sunflower dehulling using well suited cultivars and new industrial facilities. The approach has been to develop a rapid test determining the dehulling aptitude of small samples of seeds, to study the variability of dehulling aptitude according to genetic and environmental conditions, and to optimize seed treatment between harvest and crushing.
Sunflower production has increased considerably in the European Community during recent years, and sunflower oil is now one the the most important sources of lipids in human nutrition. So far, improving oil content and yield have been the main objectives of plant breeders.
Sunflower meal can also be used in animal feedstuffs, but the quantity that can be incorporated is limited by its low energy and protein content. The economic objective of the project is to improve the nutritional value of sunflower meal by increasing its energy content. One of the ways of doing this is to remove the hull of the achenes, which is composed largely of cellulose, as it does not have any digestive value in monogastric diets.
Industrial dehullers already exist and several plants are equipped with such facilities, but they tend to be inefficient in that the dehulling rate is very variable and it is difficult ot obtain meal with a protein content higher thant 37% where rough estimations show that 50% should be possible.
The technical objective of the project is to improve sunflower dehulling with well suited cultivars and new industrial facilities. The approach will be as follows :
- To develop a rapid test determining the dehulling aptitude of small samples of seeds; laboratory prototypes will be built.
- To study the variability of dehulling aptitude according to the genetic and environmental conditions; attention will be paid to correlation between dehulling aptitude and other criteria from non-destructive methods. - To optimise seed treatment between harvest and crushing.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts