Pennycress is being domesticated as a new winter oilseed crop to be grown between corn harvest and soybean planting the following year in the Upper Midwestern United States. The aim of this research was to evaluate seed composition traits in a large pennycress mutant population using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). We tested the hypothesis that Brassica NIRS calibration equations could be used rapidly and cost effectively to evaluate pennycress seeds for protein, oil, glucosinolate, and fatty acid contents. Using calibration equations developed for Brassica, we identified a broad range for each of the traits evaluated in this study. Wet lab analyses were conducted on selected subsets of the mutant families to confirm the predicted variation for each trait using NIRS. Supporting our hypothesis, moderate to strong correlations were observed between the wet lab analyses and NIRS predictions for seven of the eight traits evaluated. For protein, oil and glucosinolate content, correlations between the NIRS predictions and wet lab values were 0.82, 0.92 and 0.78 respectively. For fatty acid content, moderate correlations for oleic acid (0.68), linoleic acid (0.78), linolenic acid (0.60) and erucic acid (0.74) were observed. These findings allowed us to use NIRS to quickly evaluate large heterogenous mutant families and identify pennycress lines harboring desirable traits required for adoption as a cover crop and to create several industrial opportunities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food Agriculture - Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment , competitive grant no. 2014-67009-22305 and 2018-67009-27374 to M.D.M. Additional funds were provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative to J.A.A. and the Walton Family Foundation to D.L.W.
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.