Effects of disease on seed quality parameters of oilseed rape grown for industrial uses


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 July 1995 - 31 December 1996
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£72,090 From HGCA (Project No. OS11/1/94)
Project leader:
K J Doughty, G Landon, and H A McCartney IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden G Norton, G West University of Nottingham, Loughborough E J Booth, K C Walker Scottish Agricultural College, Aberdeen S P J Kightley and J E Thomas National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Cambridge



About this project


Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) produces an oil that is currently used mainly for human consumption but also, on a smaller scale, for industrial applications. There is great potential for the industrial use of rape oil to expand, and special cultivars are being bred to produce oils specifically suited to a particular application. Rape crops are required to produce seed containing as high a content as possible of oil with a fatty acid composition that is optimal for the intended end-use. Conversely, the seed should contain the lowest possible levels of contaminants that increase processing costs.

Financial returns to the farmer growing either type of crop are currently marginal, meaning that there are economic constraints on the inputs that can be made to the crop. Among inputs, fungicide applications are often targets for saving. However, the fungal diseases that develop more freely in the absence of fungicides can have profound effects on the yield and physiology, and possibly on the quality of the crop. This study investigated how fungal disease affects rape seed composition in order to indicate the importance of crop protection for maintaining quality. Our aim was to provide information that could be used to predict the crop protection needs and also in cost-benefit analyses of fungicide use in contemporary crops, and perhaps the economic viability, of future, high-value specialist-oil crops.