Pam Ismail, Professor
Department of Food Science and Nutrition
Support: Forever Green Initiative, Clean Water Fund
Award Amount: $139,500
The winter crop pennycress (PC), high in oil and protein, shows great potential to be developed as a crop for food use, and provides sustainable environmental benefits. The global demand for novel plant protein sources is on the rise. Being an oilseed crop, PC presents an attractive choice not only for oil but also for protein ingredients production. Recent advances guided by sequencing the pennycress genome and assembling its transcriptome have aided in the identification of new lines of PC that lack erucic acid, a fatty acid associated with adverse health effects. Additional screening has identified candidate lines of PC that may have reduced seed glucosinolates, a class of potentially toxic secondary metabolites, and other lines with varying protein and oil content.
The overall objectives of this project are to characterize the oil and protein chemical, nutritional and functional properties in a range of diverse lines. Additionally, glucosinolate content will be screened. The chemical data will be used to generate near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) calibration equations, which will allow efficient and accurate phenotyping of important traits to further identify new variants. The information gathered will benefit food producers interested in utilizing sustainable crops high in protein, and will also identify key traits for ongoing breeding efforts. This effort will contribute to the overall impact of the Forever Green Initiative on the environment, the ever-growing need for new and healthy food supply, economic prosperity for farmers, economic gain for the food industry, and the overall wellbeing of the consumers.