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The main objective of this project is to develop the production of Brassica carinata
as a new source of non food raw materials either for biomass to be processed into
energy or for derived from the seeds oil which could be transformed into liquid
biofuels and high value-added derivatives. Because the special characteristics of
this species, its production may serve for the diversification of the agricultural
systems of cereals in the Mediterranean region of the EU. The creation of a new
market is also foreseen in the south European countries as the right solution to the
probable next future shortage of feedstocks for biodiesel in this area. It is very
important to stress that although this proposal is to investigate the implementation
of B. carinata in Mediterranean countries, the crop also offers interesting
possibilities to be introduced as a spring crop in northern EU countries.

B. carinata is a mustard crop from Ethiopia related to rapeseed (B. napus) and the
brown mustard (B. juncea). The seed yield potential of different ecotypes in
Mediterranean countries under rainfed conditions has shown to be superior to that
of B. napus (Konwles et al., 1981, Fernandez). These characteristics make
B. carinata a suitable candidate to become a winter crop in Mediterranean countries
alternative to cereals. One of the participants has been working in the breeding
and domestication of this species for 14 years. A collection of lines with
characteristics suitable for modern agriculture is available o the present project
including different oil types, such as low erucic (0 %) and very high erucic
(+50 %) content. Preliminary evaluation made in Spain has also indicated a very
good potential for biomass production. Nevertheless, a detailed evaluation of
B. carinata biomass for energy production has not yet been done. The utilisation
of carinata oil in biofuels and biolubricants is also an area not yet evaluated.
Current knowledge indicates that the species does not cross naturally with
B. napus, B. juncea and other wild relatives. In this species becomes a suitable
crop for the production of non-food biomass or oil source in the EU, it could
become also a good candidate for the production of special oils.

This project is integrated and multidisciplinary bringing together industrial end-
users, producers and academics in order to create a new market to support the
rural economies of the less developed areas of the EU and at the same time to have
a minimal environmental impact. It also seeks the establishment of quality profiles
for the specific demands of industry and the adaptation, by genetic selection, of
B. carinata as a new oilseed crop for these requirements. The project is divided in
three specific objectives. The first one is the study of B. carinata as a source of
non-food raw material for biomass and bioenergy. This is divided in two areas : the
lignocellulose utilisation and the non-food industrial use of B. carinata oil either for
biodiesel or lubricants and other oleochemicals. The second objective includes the
genotype evaluation and identification of suitable regions for cultivation and
production in Spain, Italy and Greece as well as the evaluation of seeding
techniques, planting dates and the role of B. carinata in the crop rotation. It also
deals with the post harvest, collection and transport of the B. Carinata biomass.
The third objective, Plant breeding and seed production of B. carinata includes the
selection of genotypes for Biomass production and oil yield either for biodiesel or
lubricants production. The selection of low seed glucosinolates content cultivars
of B. carinata is also to be searched either by conventional breeding or by
biotechnological tools such as mutagenesis, in vitro regeneration, and
haplodiploidization techniques. Hybrid vigor evaluation will be used to conclude if
there is a possibility to improve further the yield potential of this species.

Call for proposal

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Participants (6)