Genetic enhancement of Brassica napus seed quality.
The ultimate value of the Brassica napus (canola) seed is derived from the oil fraction, which has long been recognized for its premium dietary attributes, including its low level of saturated fatty acids, high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, and favorable omega-3 fatty acid profile. However, the protein (meal) portion of the seed has also received favorable attention for its essential amino acids, including abundance of sulfur-containing amino acids, such that B. napus protein is being contemplated for large scale use in livestock and fish feed formulations. Efforts to optimize the composition of B. napus oil and protein fractions are well documented; therefore, this article will review research concerned with optimizing secondary metabolites that affect the quality of seed oil and meal, from undesirable anti-nutritional factors to high value beneficial products. The biological, agronomic, and economic values attributed to secondary metabolites have brought much needed attention to those in Brassica oilseeds and other crops. This review focuses on increasing levels of beneficial endogenous secondary metabolites (such as carotenoids, choline and tochopherols) and decreasing undesirable antinutritional factors (glucosinolates, sinapine and phytate). Molecular genetic approaches are given emphasis relative to classical breeding.
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