Novel Safflower germplasm with increased saturated fatty acid content
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) oil with high concentration of saturated fatty acids has potential applications in the food industry. So far only germplasm with increased stearic acid content (50–120 g kg–1), controlled by alleles at the locus St, has been developed. The objectives of the present research were to evaluate safflower germplasm for saturated fatty acid content, to isolate lines with increased levels of palmitic acid and stearic acid, to study the inheritance of both traits, and to evaluate the feasibility of recombining them. Germplasm evaluation and further selection led to the isolation of the line CR-50 with increased palmitic acid content (98.2 ± 7.9 g kg–1 vs. 64.0 ± 3.4 g kg–1 in the check) and the line CR-13 with increased stearic acid content (92.8 ± 9.2 g kg–1 vs. 22.2 ± 3.4 g kg–1 in the check). Inheritance studies including evaluation of F1, F2, and F3 seed generations from crosses with the nuclear male-sterile line CL1, with conventional fatty acid profile, suggested that increased palmitic acid content was determined by additive alleles at a single locus Pa, whereas stearic acid content was controlled by partially recessive alleles at a single locus, probably St. Recombination of pa and st alleles produced transgressive segregants with 211.3 ± 14.6 g kg–1 saturated fatty acids, compared with 149.6 ± 14.0 g kg–1 in CR-50, 159.7 ± 8.0 g kg–1 in CR-13, and 89.3 ± 4.9 in the line CL1. These are the highest levels of saturated fatty acids reported so far in safflower.