Biopesticide Co-products from Brassicaceae Seed Meals
Brassicaceae oilseed crops including rapeseed (Brassica napus), mustard (Brassica juncea and Sinapis alba), and camelina (Camelina sativa) exhibit rotational and environmental quality benefits making them excellent choices as rotational crops for the production of advanced liquid biofuel feedstocks. Substituting a mustard crop for a pulse crop can significantly reduce the amount of herbicide used in the cropping system. Brassicaceae crops are extremely competitive with most common annual weed species, reducing the need for chemical weed control in the crop. Natural chemicals produced by Brassicaceae plant tissues also appear to provide pest control benefits that exceed those expected from an average break crop. Including Brassicaceae crops in a rotation has a number of other advantages. Increased plant available N has been measured in soils
following mustard crops equal to that typically measured after a legume. Brassicaceae crops are highly drought tolerant and require less water than small grains. Although Brassicaceae species afford the aforementioned benefits with respect to agroecosystem sustainability and produce excellent quality oils for advanced biofuel feedstocks, acreages are limited by low financial returns to growers. An increased financial incentive to grow Brassicaceae oilseed crops will only occur if the oils and associated co-products command higher prices. Given the competing price of petroleum feedstocks, the value of oils produced from Brassicaceae species is unlikely to increase in the foreseeable future. Thus, the only way to develop an economically viable, regionally significant liquid biofuels industry based on oilseeds is to increase co-product value. We have chosen to focus our research efforts on
developing co-products from the seed meal remaining after oil removal from the seed given that that meal constitutes 60 to 70% of the total seed weight and possesses unique chemical characteristics of potential economic value. Our approach is to focus on the unique seed meal chemistries to produce biopesticides. In addition to improving the economics of biofuel production, biopesticide development will promote and enhance organic and low input fruit and vegetable production. In so doing, this project will also contribute to the sustainability and economic viability of agroecosystems managed for fruit and vegetables.