Smart Earth Seeds Camelina in blooms in European trials

Smart Earth Seeds Camelina in blooms in European trials

Research interest in Camelina is gathering steam and genotypes developed by Smart Earth Seeds affiliate Linnaeus Plant Sciences are at the forefront of some of the most recent scientific activity in Europe.

An Italian study looked at how our Canadian-developed spring varieties of Camelina responded to being planted in autumn in the more moderate Mediterranean climate.

Smart Earth Seeds/Linnaeus Plant Sciences Camelina was sown on six different dates at the experimental farm of Bologna University over two consecutive growing seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17). Three experiments were also carried out in a growth chamber testing various temperatures during the seed filling period.  A “critical period” was identified, linking final Camelina Fatty Acid composition with optimal temperatures during the seed filling stage.

The upshot was that autumn sowing dates were associated with increased biomass, seed yield, seed oil content, seed weight, and content of linolenic and eicosenoic acid. Since eicosenoic acid is a valuable feedstock for the bio-based industry, planting spring varieties of Camelina as an autumn crop in the Mediterranean climate was found to significantly increase output of this unique Fatty Acid.

In another recently published study, our Linnaeus/Smart Earth "Cypress" line of Camelina and some other genotypes were grown in Poland to test agronomic performance.

Camelina is of interest as Europe tries to move from dependence on palm oil and other imported oils as a base for green products in the oleochemical industry. This work was funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 635405 (COSMOS project). Linnaeus joined a group of eighteen EU-based partners for the COSMOS project.

The idea was to test seed, straw and oil yield along with the oil and protein content and fatty acid composition in 10 spring Camelina genotypes. The experiment was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in north-eastern Poland.

Three main genotype groups were identified during the study. The first group was characterized by a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and a low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These genotypes were abundant in linolenic acid. A second group was composed of genotypes with a high polyunsaturate content and low content saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These genotypes were characterized by high oil yields and a high content of linoleic acid. The third group was characterized by high saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids but low monounsaturates.

The bottom line is that several spring Camelina genotypes developed and supplied by Linnaeus/Smart Earth had high yield potential and were good candidates for commercial cultivation in the temperate climate of Central Europe.

You can learn more about the COSMOS 2020 Project.

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Featured Photo: Camelina plot at the University of Bologna

Top Photo: Italian Research Team and Camelina plot at University of Bologna

Bottom Photo: Study author Michal Krzyzaniak and Camelina plot in Poland