Variability for the fatty acid composition of the seed oil in a germplasm collection of the genus Brassica
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- Velasco, L., Goffman, F.D. & Becker, H.C. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution (1998) 45: 371. doi:10.1023/A:1008628624867
A germplasm collection consisting of 1475 entries from 21 species of Brassica, including 36 lower taxa, was evaluated for the fatty acid composition of the seed oil. A total of 358 entries representing the taxonomic variability in the collection were selected and analysed by gas-liquid chromatography (GLC). The remaining 1117 entries were analysed by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS), after developing multi-species calibration equations. The results demonstrated that NIRS is an effective technique to assess variability for oleic, linoleic, linolenic and erucic acid in intact-seed samples of multiple Brassica species, provided that calibration equations be developed from sets containing large taxonomic and chemical variability. Some fatty acid ratios were used to estimate the efficiency of the different biosynthetic pathways. Two well-defined patterns were observed. The first one was characterised by high elongation efficiency and accumulation of high levels of erucic acid. The highest erucic acid content (>55% of the total fatty acids) was found in the cultivated species B. napus L., B. oleracea L., and B. rapa L., and in the wild species B. incana Tenore, B. rupestris Raf., and B. villosa Bivona-Bernardi, the three latter belonging to the B. oleracea group (n=9). The second pattern was characterised by high desaturation efficiency, resulting in the accumulation of high levels of the polyunsaturated linoleic and linolenic acid (up to more than 55%). The highest levels of these fatty acids were found in samples of B. elongata Ehrh., especially of the var. integrifolia Boiss. The utility of the reported variability for plant breeding is discussed.