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Prog Lipid Res. 2014 Jul;55:30-42. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 May 21.

Biochemistry of high stearic sunflower, a new source of saturated fats.

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Instituto de la Grasa, Av. Padre García Tejero, 4, 41012 Sevilla, Spain. Electronic address:
Instituto de la Grasa, Av. Padre García Tejero, 4, 41012 Sevilla, Spain.
Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, P.O. Box 911, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK.
Abengoa S.A. Centro Tecnológico Palmas Altas, c/Energía solar 1, Polígono Palmas Altas, 41014 Sevilla, Spain.
Departamento de Producción Animal, E.T.S.I. Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Heptares Therapeutics, BioPark, Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL7 3AX, UK.
Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, Department of Biology, University of York, York YO10 5YW, UK.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


Fats based on stearic acid could be a healthier alternative to existing oils especially hydrogenated fractions of oils or palm, but only a few non-tropical species produce oils with these characteristics. In this regard, newly developed high stearic oil seed crops could be a future source of fats and hard stocks rich in stearic and oleic fatty acids. These oil crops have been obtained either by breeding and mutagenesis or by suppression of desaturases using RNA interference. The present review depicts the molecular and biochemical bases for the accumulation of stearic acid in sunflower. Moreover, aspects limiting the accumulation of stearate in the seeds of this species are reviewed. This included data obtained from the characterization of genes and enzymes related to fatty acid biosynthesis and triacylglycerol assembly. Future improvements and uses of these oils are also discussed.


Helianthus annuus (sunflower); High stearic acid mutants; Lipid metabolism; Oil crops; Regulation of stearate levels

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