Plant Science: Responding to the Growing Global Demand for Seed Oil
Canola is Canada’s top crop in terms of both revenue and acres seeded: it contributes more than $26.7 billion dollars to the Canadian economy annually and is responsible for more than 250,000 jobs in various sectors. However, the ever-increasing demand for renewable biomaterials, biofuels and vegetable oils for dietary use is steadily increasing globally and straining Canada’s ability to supply the world.
Global consumption of vegetable and seed oils is expected to double by 2030. As a result, increased production will be needed to fulfill the demand.
This is what Dr. Quanqun Chen, Canada Research Chair in Plant Lipid Biotechnology, is focused on. He and his research team are working to increase their understanding of how seed oil is formed. Their plant lipid biotechnology research involves metabolic engineering of plants, algae and yeast, developing crops with better characteristics, and using genetic approaches to increasing seed oil content.
The knowledge and discovery gained from Chen’s work will drive new approaches to improving yield and composition, and enable Chen to create high-value oils for both food supplements and industrial applications, such as biofuel.