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Brassica : Harvesting the Genome, Diversity and Products

2.

The role of Brassica genomes in Agriculture and the Economy

2.1.

Climate and Regional Adaptations

2.1.1.

Brassicas are primarily adapted to temperate climates, and due to the inherent phenotypic plasticity, are well adapted to a range of intensive or low input cultivation techniques. The genetic diversity within the primary and secondary genepools includes gene variants (alleles) that encompass adaptations to abiotic (eg water, nutrient) and biotic (pests, pathogens) stresses, as well as considerable variation in secondary metabolites (oils, glucosinaltes, vitamins). There has been regional specialisation of crop types such as B. rapa vegetables in S.E. Asia, B. juncea oil crops in India. In general domestication has followed a typical path of selection of specialised forms followed by adaptive radiation and adoption amongst wider human populations.

2.1.2.

Crops, Cultivated Area, Economy and markets

2.1.2.1.

Oils

The total harvested area for Rapeseed (Canola) is 23,694,731 Ha (FAO, 2003), producing 35,931,452 Mt.  This represents ?% of vegetable oil production.  Of this,  ?% is for human consumption.

Yield per hectare varies by ten-fold in different countries, reflecting different levels of inputs and efficiency of production. This highlights the scope for crop improvement, and yield will continue to be the primary focus of many crop improvement programmes. The relatively low harvest index (harvested : total biomass) of Brassica oil crops compared to other arable crops also provides considerable impetus for crop improvement.

o

Global market value

o

Value to farmers

Area Harvested Ha

Yield (Hg/Ha)

Production (Mt)

China

7,200,004

15,972

11,500,005

Canada

4,689,200

14,222

6,669,200

India

4,800,000

7,604

3,650,000

Germany

1,270,000

28,661

3,640,000

France

1,077,000

30,836

3,321,000

United Kingdom

460,000

39,935

1,837,000

Australia

1,500,000

9,467

1,420,000

Poland

426,300

17,677

753,556

USA

432,700

15,865

686,470

Czech Republic

250,959

15,979

401,000

Pakistan

290,000

8,621

250,000

Bangladesh

297,447

7,329

218,000

Denmark

85,000

25,647

218,000

Sweden

67,469

26,679

180,000

Austria

56,000

24,821

139,000

Lithuania

60,000

22,333

134,000

Russian Federation

125,000

10,000

125,000

Finland

66,200

15,529

102,800

Hungary

58,000

12,069

70,000

Belarus

140,000

4,643

65,000

World Total

23,694,731

35,931,452

Processing

Oil from B. napus, B. rapa and B. juncea is primarily used as an edible feed for humans or livestock.  Oils are either used directly in cooking or processed into a variety of food products as a replacement for dairy-based fats in margarine. Residual meal contains valuable protein (~20%) which is used as livestock feed.

Added-value and non-food uses

Due to increasing pressures to reduce reliance on fossil-fuel carbon sources, Brassica derived is being adopted in some regions as a biodiesel engine fuel. Dependent upon fatty acid composition, other uses include lubricant oils and as a raw material for bio-composites and plastics.

Draft White Paper for Multinational Brassica Genome Project (MBGP);   12/01/2006

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