Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Oilseed Crop - Cuphea

I saw the story first at Biobased News. This is the first I've heard of this oil seed type.
A good amount about Cuphea Oil is available on Wikipedia.
As described by the Biobased News this is a break through development. Being the only tropical oil crop type that will grow in North America. Or in the exact words of the Biobased News:

Part of the research focus at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Lab in Morris is to develop new and alternative crops to diversify cropping systems in the northern Corn Belt region and offer new/improved economic and environmental benefits. Over the past seven years the Morris “Soils Lab” has been successful in developing a new oilseed crop called “cuphea” that has now become the only domestic crop-derived source of medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) seed oil (i.e., seed oil similar to that of tropical plants) in the U.S. Until recently, the only plant-derived sources of MCFAs were coconut and palm oil.
The signifigance of this crop is that it produces medium-chain fatty acids (or MCFA's). This oil type being normally found in tropical oils which are relied on for soaps and other chemicals not to mention biodiesel.
Its always interesting to see new names pop up. Now I'm curious to see if this will be one of those blockbuster interest crops or a quiet but interesting additional crop.

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