KSEF RDE:Cyclopropane fatty acid accumulation in plant oil

Grants and Contracts Details


There is an enormous need to meet a greater share of our material needs from renewable resources. The worldwide market for lubricants is about 36 Mt including over 20 Mt for motor oils. The demand for renewable oil is increasing. Plant oils can currently be used as automobile engine oils but only for short periods and do not meet automotive manufacturer's specifications due to the poor oxidative stability of the unsaturated fatty acids. Solutions to this dilemma include converting the double bonds commonly found in plant oils such as soybean oil into cyclopropyl groups. Such groups can have adequate low temperature fluidity and lubricity + the needed very high oxidative stability. Various organisms including plants are capable of synthesizing and in some cases accumulating cyclopropyl groups in seed oil triacylglyceride (TAG). Certain plants have evolved the capability for selective accumulation of as much as 90% of unusual fatty acids in seed oils and such processes are undergoing intensive investigations. The overall goal is to engineer plants to convert common unsaturated fatty acids that accumulate in seed oils into cyclopropyl groups and selectively transfer these moieties from membrane lipids into seed oil TAG. This will convert normal plant oil fatty acids into forms with superior industrial lubricant properties; high oxidative stability with good flow properties over a wide range of temperatures. Various plant and microbial sources which naturally produce lubricant fatty acids have been identified and the genes needed for both cyclopropyl synthesis and selective transfer to TAG will be cloned from such sources and genetically engineered into major oilseeds that can be produced in Kentucky. This research will enhance both agriculture and industry in KY and elevate Kentucky's contribution to national goals of reducing our dependence on imported oil.
Effective start/end date10/1/079/30/09


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $19,853.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.