Fatty acid composition in diverse oat germplasm
Oat is an important crop for livestock feed and human food. Increased interest in the health promoting properties of oat has led to a need to explore diverse oat germplasm for improved nutritional quality. One target for improved nutritional quality could be an altered fatty acid composition. A study was conducted to explore the fatty acid profile of diverse accessions from the world oat collection preserved in the Canadian national seed genebank, Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC), at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and genotypes from the Crop Development Centre (CDC), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre (ECORC), AAFC, Ottawa, Canada. Accessions included a wide range of Avena sativa L. and other selected species from the genus Avena (A. byzantina C. Koch, A. sterilis L., A. fatua L., A. sativa subsp. nudisativa (Husn.) Rod. et. Sold. and A. strigosa Schreb.). The fatty acid profiles of 917 oat accessions from these taxa were analyzed using gas chromatography, revealing significant variability for the three major fatty acids in oat oil. Oleic and linoleic acid demonstrated the greatest variation. A few A. sativa accessions had higher oleic and lower palmitic acid levels compared to the general average. Some hexaploid wild oat accessions (A. sterilis) showed relatively high oleic and below average levels of palmitic and linoleic acid compared to A. sativa. A. strigosa accessions had consistently higher levels of oleic acid than other Avena species. Based on initial results, 52 selected A. sativa accessions were grown in 2009 in replicated field trials and re-evaluated to gain insight into the influence of the growing environment on fatty acid composition. Fatty acid composition was affected by genotype, whereas location significantly affected palmitic and oleic acid content. Correlations were determined among the contents of the six fatty acids, oil content and protein content. Oleic acid content was positively correlated with oil content, which may be particularly important to plant breeders for nutritional quality improvement of future oat cultivars. The understanding gained from this research suggests the possibility of improving the fatty acid profile of future oat cultivars for food and feed.
Fatty acid composition, Germplasm, Oat
Master of Science (M.Sc.)