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Improving palm oil quality through identification and mapping of the lipase gene causing oil deterioration

Morcillo F., Cros D., Billotte N., Ngando Ebongue G.F., Domonhedo H., Pizot M., Cuellar T., Espeout S., Dhouib R., Bourgis F., Claverol S., Tranbarger T.J., Nouy B., Arondel V.. 2013. Nature Communications, 4 (2160) : 8 p..

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3160

The oil palm fruit mesocarp contains high lipase activity that increases free fatty acids and necessitates post-harvest inactivation by heat treatment of fruit bunches. Even before heat treatment the mesocarp lipase activity causes consequential oil losses and requires costly measures to limit free fatty acids quantities. Here we demonstrate that elite low-lipase lines yield oil with substantially less free fatty acids than standard genotypes, allowing more flexibility for post-harvest fruit processing and extended ripening for increased yields. We identify the lipase and its gene cosegregates with the low-/high-lipase trait, providing breeders a marker to rapidly identify potent elite genitors and introgress the trait into major cultivars. Overall, economic gains brought by wide adoption of this material could represent up to one billion dollars per year. Expected benefits concern all planters but are likely to be highest for African smallholders who would be more able to produce oil that meets international quality standards.

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; bénin; cameroun

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