An integrative approach for germplasm utilization, genetic diversity and QTL mapping in Camelina spp. and crop-production issues in Thlaspi arvense, new promising oilseed crops for bioenergy and industrial uses
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Fuel demands continue to increase to satisfy current energy needs. Fossil fuels are the primary source of energy and supply 80% of the total demand, 58% of which is used for transportation purposes. However, decreasing oil reserves, rising prices and negative environmental implications have all contributed to growing demand for alternative energy sources, such as bioenergy crops. Ideally a good bioenergy crop has low input requirements (able to grow in marginal zones), fast growth and maturity, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress conditions, and high productivity. Camelina (Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz) and pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) have been targeted as promising crops due to their potential to supply market demands not only for biofuels and animal feed, but also for industrial and nutraceutical products. Camelina and pennycress have already been introduced as new crops in the United States and both species have great potential. However, critical factors, such as adaptation, yield, agronomics, oil components, fatty acid composition, genotype-by-environment interactions, and genetics will strongly influence their feasibility as commercial crops.
This dissertation takes an integrative approach to the study of camelina and pennycress as new crops. The objectives of this dissertation were; i) To study the performance of camelina germplasm in different environments in order to identify promising accessions suitable for different market demands and/or production environments, as well as to identify the effect of genotype-by-environment interactions on yield and quality traits; ii) To assess genetic and phenotypic diversity of camelina by using molecular and biochemical markers in order to better understand relationships within and between accessions and any implications for potential breeding use; iii) To identify QTLs in camelina for oil concentration, seed size and flowering time, to inform basic and applied research, and iv) assessing the effect of planting depth on agronomic performance on pennycress.