MSU researchers discover how eucalyptuses oil yields vary

May 9, 2019 |

In Michigan, researchers from Michigan State University have investigated the genetic basis of variation in oil yield in blue mallee, a eucalyptus native to Australia. This will allow for a faster and more efficient domestication, making the production of renewable fuels from eucalypt plantations more feasible.

One reason for the interest in eucalyptus oil is because bioethanol (typically made from corn) and biodiesel (typically made with vegetable and soybean oils) do not have sufficient energy density to be useful for the aviation industry. Eucalyptus oil, however, can be converted into high-energy biofuel that can be used for jet fuel and even tactical missile fuel (JP-10).

However, many eucalypts currently have not been domesticated and vary greatly in their oil yield. Using genome-wide association studies (GWAS), Külheim has identified the genes that produce the components of eucalyptus oil that may be used for jet fuel, and the aspects that may be used for the production of biodiesel.

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