Energizing Commercialization of Industrial Oilseed Crops
Rising oil prices and the increasing desire for environmentally friendly alternatives are driving demand for plant-based industrial oil products. Prairie Gold is an innovative $4.5 million project to develop the emerging industrial oilseed market in the Prairie region. Managed by Genome Prairie and funded through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement, Prairie Gold research aims to streamline regulatory processes and create a commercial pathway to establish an industrial oilseed market sector, while using genomics to provide a steady pipeline of breeding and bioproduct innovations for years afterwards.
Genome Prairie is integrating expertise in genomics and plant breeding to develop Camelina sativa (False flax) and Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard) as renewable alternatives for petroleum-based products. Potential uses for industrial oil seeds include jet fuel, hydraulic fluids, plant-based polymers, high-quality animal feed, and bio-pesticides. B. carinata and C. sativa are hardy crops that will boost the agricultural productivity of marginal lands by giving producers an alternative to fallow in their crop rotations; thereby avoiding competition with food acres.
- Providing the bio-products industry with access to high-value markets for fuel and non-fuel petroleum products.
- First to sequence the Camelina genome (see: camelinadb.ca)
- Creating jobs in downstream sectors such as oil processing, product formulations and marketing for environmentally friendly renewable oil products.
- Providing farmers with valuable rotation crops, the ability to grow a high-value crop on marginal land, meal by-products to supplement animal feed, and the ability to maintain farm equipment with products made from agricultural efforts.
- Improving environmental impacts due to the minimal need for fertilizers and pesticides to grow these crops, and reduction of greenhouse gases compared to using petroleum-based products.
- B. carinata crop is now being grown commercially in western Canada for biojet fuel production.
- Industry partners are advancing towards Canadian regulatory approvals for future industrial oilseed crops.
- Breeding for oilseeds with improved oil characteristics and agronomic traits continues steadily. This will be aided by the nearly completed genome sequences for these crops.
- By innovating the oil profiles, industrial crop oils have become desirable starting materials for bioproduct manufacturers.
- Genome Atlantic’s “Camelina Project” and Genome Prairie’s “Prairie Gold” will use the same Camelina genomic data, to develop synergies across the country. One will develop a high protein and nutritious oil for alternative fish meal, and Prairie Gold will focus on optimizing oil profiles for industrial uses.
Genome Prairie-led consortium:
Linnaeus Plant Sciences
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
National Research Council Plant Biotechnology Institute
Doug Heath, Ag-West Bio
Western Economic Partnership Agreement