Improved Chia Production & Product Usage

Grants and Contracts Details


Work conducted at Univ. KY and also by Chris Kummer has indicated that chia, Salvia hispanica, can be an economically viable new crop for KY farmers but further R&D is needed. The objectives of this research are to: 1.) Continue to develop new chia lines with improved yield and other agronomic performance characteristics by traditional breeding and further mutagenesis particularly seed retention and lower lodging. 2.) Genotype and environmental effects on seed composition analyzed of materials produced in 2015. 3.) Refined post-harvest control of germination and microbial contamination. 4.) Further market development of nutrigel fiber, ?3 applications and improved protein product streams from chia. 5.) Determination of the molecular genetic basis of long day flowering in chia for more efficient improvement. The main goal of this research remains the further development of chia as a sustainable oil source for edible and renewable chemical applications as well as fiber for food and medicinal applications and a high protein source for food and feed. These in turn will provide a major new market for farmers. The most promising lines from the 2015 harvests will be used in replicated agronomic performance trials at UK research farms. Data on total plant biomass and seed yield will be collected, as well as flowering date, harvest date, lodging score, and any pest problems. Harvested seed will be analyzed for protein, oil, fiber and other components. The most promising chia germplasm from around the world has been assembled and our most promising line was subjected to a further round of mutagenesis. Lines with larger seed, higher oil, reduced lodging and lower shattering will be grown out in 2016. Breeding for higher yielding chia lines that can set seed in Kentucky will continue by crossing with the best additional chia genetic materials. The oil and protein contents of the harvested seeds as well as fatty acid composition will also be determined. These will be planted by mid- to late May for full-season chia. Some will also again be planted in mid-July to assess if any of these lines will be suitable for double cropping behind wheat or barley or even flax or winter canola. To ensure that meaningful results are obtained for farmers, minimal irrigation will be applied if needed to obtain a moderate crop in the 2016 growing season. For commercialization of these lines as a high ?3 oil in addition to whole seeds we are further screening and selecting lines for higher oil and ?3 levels. We have established a very efficient screen for higher oil chia lines and have found considerable variability for oil content. Thus we will be able to readily develop new higher oil lines. NMR and NIR calibrations that have been developed will be applied to selecting higher oil and protein chia lines. NIR moisture calibrations will also be developed and added. Further work will be conducted on processing and marketing chia for new commercialization opportunities for KY growers for food, health and renewable chemical markets. For expanding market opportunities for chia growers we will continue to work with experts in nutrition and medicine and high chia content food product development. It has become apparent that chia may be the best source of soluble fiber in addition to ?3 fatty acids. We will further study the formation, isolation, health properties, processing and marketing opportunity of chia water adsorbing fiber in addition to the oil and high protein meal especially the viscosity as this is a very important parameter for the marketing of such products for food, health, cosmetic and industrial applications. The oxidative stability of chia oil and whole chia seed products compared to commodity and high ?3 oil sources is being studied for special high value health, nutraceutical and food applications. The chemical processes for converting chia oil into a high value renewable lubricant/motor oil and fuel cell energy source will be further developed.
Effective start/end date9/1/1512/31/16


  • Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association: $23,903.00


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