Sunflower is one of the four major sources of edible oil worldwide and in the EU. Its oil quality is relatively flexible and has been adapted to many specific uses, but extended use of sunflower oil for industrial applications requires oil qualities difficult or impossible to obtain by classical breeding approaches.
Existing expertise from six participants including public research institutes and commercial plant breeders, will be combined to produce transgenic sunflower plants producing oil with novel qualities, suitable for non-food industrial applications. We propose to create genotypes producing (1) very low amounts of stearic acid and (2) medium chain fatty acids and to submit the generated genotypes to field trials.
The introduction of sequences coding for 9-stearoyl (ACP) desaturase cloned from Cuphea spp, under the control of seed-specific promoters from sunflower, are expected to generate sunflowers producing the desired oil qualities. Since necessary materials and techniques are already available in a usable form today, we expect that transgenetic sunflowers can indeed be produced within the time allocated to the project. The generated material can then be introduced into established, conventional breeding programmes in order to develop commercially competitive lines. The project can thus be classified as pre-competitive applied research. In addition to the production of a new product, this project will result in an efficient, well-tested transformation protocol which can be used cost-effectively for the production of further commercially useful sunflower lines, thus reinforcing the competitivity of the EU in the world market for agriculturally produced non-food oils.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts