Blackshaw, R. E., Johnson, E. N., Gan, Y., May, W. E., McAndrew, D. W., Barthet, V., McDonald, T. and Wispinski, D. 2011. Alternative oilseed crops for biodiesel feedstock on the Canadian prairies. Can. J. Plant Sci. 91: 889-896. Increased demand for biodiesel feedstock has encouraged greater napus canola (Brassica napus L.) production, but there may be a need for greater production of other oilseed crops for this purpose. A multi-site field study was conducted to determine the oil yield potential of various crops relative to that of napus canola in the semi-arid, short-season environment of the Canadian prairies. Oilseed crops evaluated included rapa canola (Brassica rapa L.), juncea canola (Brassica juncea L.), Ethiopian mustard (Brassica carinata L.), oriental mustard (Brassica juncea L.), yellow mustard (Sinapis alba L.), camelina (Camelina sativa L.), flax (Linum usitatissimum L.), and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Max.]. Crop emergence and growth were generally good for all crops, but soybean did not fully mature at some locations. The number of site-years (out of a total of 9) that crops attained similar or greater yields compared to napus canola were camelina (6), oriental mustard (5), juncea canola (3), flax (3), soybean (3), rapa canola (2), yellow mustard (2), and Ethiopian mustard (1). The ranking of seed oil concentration was napus canola=rapa canola= juncea canola=flax>camelina=oriental mustard>Ethiopian mustard>yellow mustard>soybean. Considering yield and oil concentration, the alternative oilseed crops exhibiting the most potential for biodiesel feedstock were camelina, flax, rapa canola and oriental mustard. Oils of all crops were easily converted to biodiesel and quality analyses indicated that all crops would be suitable for biodiesel feedstock with the addition of antioxidants that are routinely utilized in biodiesel fuels.
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