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Storage lipid accumulation in oil seeds

Prof. Dr. Peter Dörmann

Crop plants are the basis for global food supply. Plant oils represent a major source for carbon and energy and contain many important lipids such as vitamins and essential fatty acids. Rapeseed (Brassica napus), a close relative of Arabidopsis thaliana, is the major oil crop in Central Europe. Additional oil crops, e.g. Camelina sativa, are becoming more and more important as a renewable resource. Plant oil is used for human nutrition (Figure 3), for industrial applications (lubricants, surface finishings) as well as biofuel/jetfuel for the car and airplane business. In an approach to alter seed size and oil accumulation in oil seeds, we recently showed that the leucine rich repeat kinase IKU2 is an important factor in increasing the seed size of Arabidopsis thaliana (Figure 4) (Fatihi et al., 2013). We are currently testing whether this approach can be extended to additional plant species.

Figure 11
Figure 11: Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 wild type seeds and siliques (left) in comparison with IKU2 overexpression seeds and siliques (right). The transgenic seeds carry a dsRED marker and therefore emit red fluorescence under the fluorescence microscope.