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Theor Appl Genet. 2009 Feb;118(4):765-73. doi: 10.1007/s00122-008-0936-7. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Increasing erucic acid content through combination of endogenous low polyunsaturated fatty acids alleles with Ld-LPAAT + Bn-fae1 transgenes in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.).

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Department of Crop Sciences, Plant Breeding, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Von-Siebold-Str. 8, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


High erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) oil is of interest for industrial purposes because erucic acid (22:1) and its derivatives are important renewable raw materials for the oleochemical industry. Currently available cultivars contain only about 50% erucic acid in the seed oil. A substantial increase in erucic acid content would significantly reduce processing costs and could increase market prospects of HEAR oil. It has been proposed that erucic acid content in rapeseed is limited because of insufficient fatty acid elongation, lack of insertion of erucic acid into the central sn-2 position of the triaclyglycerol backbone and due to competitive desaturation of the precursor oleic acid (18:1) to linoleic acid (18:2). The objective of the present study was to increase erucic content of HEAR winter rapeseed through over expression of the rapeseed fatty acid elongase gene (fae1) in combination with expression of the lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase gene from Limnanthes douglasii (Ld-LPAAT), which enables insertion of erucic acid into the sn-2 glycerol position. Furthermore, mutant alleles for low contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids (18:2 + 18:3) were combined with the transgenic material. Selected transgenic lines showed up to 63% erucic acid in the seed oil in comparison to a mean of 54% erucic acid of segregating non-transgenic HEAR plants. Amongst 220 F(2) plants derived from the cross between a transgenic HEAR line and a non-transgenic HEAR line with a low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, recombinant F(2) plants were identified with an erucic acid content of up to 72% and a polyunsaturated fatty acid content as low as 6%. Regression analysis revealed that a reduction of 10% in polyunsaturated fatty acids content led to a 6.5% increase in erucic acid content. Results from selected F(2) plants were confirmed in the next generation by analysing F(4) seeds harvested from five F(3) plants per selected F(2) plant. F(3) lines contained up to 72% erucic acid and as little as 4% polyunsaturated fatty acids content in the seed oil. The 72% erucic acid content of rapeseed oil achieved in the present study represents a major breakthrough in breeding high erucic acid rapeseed.

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