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Researchers Discover Plant Mechanism for Oil Biosynthesis
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: May 29, 2024 03:48PM

A study led by researchers from Washington State University (WSU) discovered the genetic mechanism of Physaria fendleri, a plant related to canola, to change the fatty acid composition in its seed oil after it is already made. This discovery led to the genetic engineering of Arabidopsis to make the same fatty acid changes.

The value of plant oils is highly dependent on their fatty acid composition. According to Phil Bates, a WSU professor and lead author of the study, approximately 90% of oil holds significant value for industrial uses in crops like castor beans. Their study, published in Nature Communications, shows that the modified Arabidopsis produced significant amounts of oil similar to castor oil, which is not naturally produced by the plant.

This breakthrough could potentially reduce the reliance on crops like castor plants that produce ricin, a highly dangerous toxin from the seeds of the castor oil plant. Phil Bates said, ??We're at the starting point of putting this into crop plants. We want to eventually produce healthy fatty acids beyond industrial uses.? In the future, the research team will also investigate this mechanism in common crops like canola.


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