Fats based on stearic acid could be a healthier alternative to existing oils especially hydrogenated fractions of oils or palm, but only a few non-tropical species produce oils with these characteristics. In this regard, newly developed high stearic oil seed crops could be a future source of fats and hard stocks rich in stearic and oleic fatty acids. These oil crops have been obtained either by breeding and mutagenesis or by suppression of desaturases using RNA interference. The present review depicts the molecular and biochemical bases for the accumulation of stearic acid in sunflower. Moreover, aspects limiting the accumulation of stearate in the seeds of this species are reviewed. This included data obtained from the characterization of genes and enzymes related to fatty acid biosynthesis and triacylglycerol assembly. Future improvements and uses of these oils are also discussed.
Keywords: Helianthus annuus (sunflower); High stearic acid mutants; Lipid metabolism; Oil crops; Regulation of stearate levels.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.