Increasing oil content and altering the fatty acid profile of the oilseed cover crop, field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.), would improve its profitability and functionality as a biodiesel, and possibly allow its entry into the industrial and edible oil markets. However, plant breeders know little about the amount of existing variation for these traits. To make gains in selection using traditional plant breeding to meet these objectives, heritable variation is required for traits of interest. Reported here is the characterization of a collection of 41 winter type pennycress accessions from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) and wild selections. The collection was grown at three Minnesota locations in 2014–2015 and surveyed for total oil percentage, fatty acid profile, and hundred seed weight. Significant variation (p < 0.001) was detected among the accessions for all traits surveyed. Coupled with high broad sense heritability (average for all traits: Hplot 2=0.62 and Hentry 2=0.88), results indicate potential for effective selection within this collection in the environments tested. Although significant, no extreme variation was found, suggesting that mutagenesis or additional germplasm may be necessary to make desired alterations. The effect of location was significant for nine of twelve traits, and accession by location interaction in eight of twelve, showing that both overall and relative performance of the accessions were variable across locations.
- Fatty acid profile
- Oil content