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Camelina Sativa: An Ideal Platform for the Metabolic Engineering and Field Production of Industrial Lipids


Camelina Sativa: An Ideal Platform for the Metabolic Engineering and Field Production of Industrial Lipids

Sunil Bansal et al. Biochimie.


Triacylglycerols (TAG) containing modified fatty acids with functionality beyond those found in commercially grown oil seed crops can be used as feedstocks for biofuels and bio-based materials. Over the years, advances have been made in transgenically engineering the production of various modified fatty acids in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the inability to produce large quantities of transgenic seed has limited the functional testing of the modified oil. In contrast, the emerging oil seed crop Camelina sativa possesses important agronomic traits that recommend it as an ideal production platform for biofuels and industrial feedstocks. Camelina possesses low water and fertilizer requirements and is capable of yields comparable to other oil seed crops, particularly under stress conditions. Importantly, its relatively short growing season enables it to be grown as part of a double cropping system. In addition to these valuable agronomic features, Camelina is amenable to rapid metabolic engineering. The development of a simple and effective transformation method, combined with the availability of abundant transcriptomic and genomic data, has allowed the generation of transgenic Camelina lines capable of synthesizing high levels of unusual lipids. In some cases these levels have surpassed what was achieved in Arabidopsis. Further, the ability to use Camelina as a crop production system has allowed for the large scale growth of transgenic oil seed crops, enabling subsequent physical property testing. The application of new techniques such as genome editing will further increase the suitability of Camelina as an ideal platform for the production of biofuels and bio-materials.

Keywords: Camelina; Metabolic engineering; Modified fatty acids; Oilseeds.

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