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Crop Biotech Update

High-oleic Tobacco Seed Oil for Bio-diesel Produced Using CRISPR-Cas9

August 25, 2021

Researchers at Hebei University of Engineering and Sichuan University in China used CRISPR-Cas9 to boost the oleic acid content in tobacco oil. This breakthrough could help improve the properties of bio-diesel derived from tobacco. The results are published in BMC Plant Biology.

Tobacco seed oil is a suitable feedstock for bio-diesel production. However, this seed oil is susceptible to oxidation because of its high linoleic acid content. FAD2 desaturates oleic acid into linoleic acid in a specific portion of the cell. Previous studies have shown that suppression of the FAD2 gene in tobacco could lead to an increase in oleic acid content. Thus, the researchers identified the FAD2 genes in tobacco and characterized them. Seed type FAD2 genes were knocked out in tobacco plants using CRISPR-Cas9. The edited plants exhibited a significant increase of oleic acid content from 11% to over 79%, while linoleic acid decreased from 72 to 7%. The fatty acid composition of the leaf remained unaffected.

Based on the results, CRISPR-Cas9 could be a rapid and effective tool in tobacco seed lipid engineering research.

Read the research article in BMC Plant Biology.

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