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Winter cover crops variety trials, seeding date and morphological differentiation of winter and spring types of camelina

Berti, MS student Alex Wittenberg; Research assistants Dulan Samarappuli and Hui Li

i)           High Throughput Phenotyping of Camelina sativa Seeds for Crude Protein, Total Oil and Fatty Acids Profile by Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Fast, non-destructive methods for determining the seed composition of camelina would be beneficial in evaluating germplasm for important agronomic traits.  In this study, near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) methods were developed and evaluated for conducting non-destructive, high throughput phenotyping of seed quality traits. Nitrogen and total oil concentration for 85 accessions (63 summer- and 22 winter-biotypes) were first determined by established wet chemistry methodology; whereas, for fatty acid profiles 173 accessions (149 summer- and 24 winter-biotypes) were determined using Gas Chromatography (GC). The wet chemistry and GC data were used to develop NIRS calibration equations for each trait. Based on the wet chemistry data obtained from 85 accessions, mean crude protein (calculated from N concentration) was significantly less in summer (300 g kg-1) than in winter (315 g kg-1) biotypes (P ≤0.05) and total oil was greater in seeds of summer (351 g kg-1) than that of winter (326 g kg-1) biotypes. Coefficient of determination (r2=0.979 and 0.894, respectively) and ratio of performance to deviation (RPD=9.15 and 4.33, respectively) for crude protein and oil content indicated a high level of confidence for predicting these traits using NIRS. Evaluation of all 173 accessions by NIRS did not appreciably change the predicted mean crude protein content of summer- and winter-biotypes; however, it did change the predicted mean total oil content of summer biotypes (260 g kg-1), which was significantly less than predicted for winter biotypes (323 g kg-1). Fatty acids contents were not significantly different between summer- and winter-biotypes.  The most abundant fatty acid was linolenic acid (18:3) ranging from 22.8 to 38.4%, followed by linoleic acid (18:2) at 15.2-27.1%, eicosenoic acid (20:1) at 11.6-18.2%, and oleic acid (18:1) at 9.1-22.1%. Calibration models for the main fatty acids oleic, linoleic, linolenic, and eicosenoic acids had r2 values of 0.718, 0.790, 0.828, and 0.586, respectively. Results of this study indicate that NIRS has potential as a non-destructive, high throughput method for determining quality traits of camelina seed.

i)           Morphological characteristics of winter- and summer-biotypes of camelina

With the increased interest from producers, private seed companies outsourced winter camelina in the summer of 2017. Regrettably, all outsourced seed that seed companies sourced in 2017 from other states was the summer type which does not survive the winter in North Dakota. While differences in the morphology of summer and winter biotypes have previously been observed and noted by other researchers, no research has been conducted to determine exact differences. The objective of this study was to determine the morphological characteristics of seeds and seedlings from summer- and winter-biotypes. To determine differences in seed wavelength absorbance between winter- and summer-biotypes both visible and near-infrared spectra were examined, which encompass 400 to 2498 nm wavelengths.

Mixtures of cultivars Joelle (winter) and Blaine Creek, Shoshone, and Pronghorn (summer) were analyzed using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), XDS Analyzer. Seed mixtures were prepared in increments of 5% of ‘Joelle’ with the other summer cultivars. Morphological characteristics of seedlings were determined by growing fifteen summer- and fifteen winter-biotypes in an environmental chamber. Spectra data and developed equation can successfully determine if an unknown-biotype seed lot is a winter or summer biotype.  Plant height range from 1 to 562 mm at five weeks after planting. Interactions between measured traits of pairs of vegetative leaves, growth stage, leaf width, leaf length, lobes, and height. Differences in seed and seedling morphological characteristics can be used to differentiate winter- or summer-biotypes.


iii)                  Winter camelina fall seeding date effect on stand survival

Camelina has two distinctive biotypes, summer and winter, with winter biotypes requiring a vernalization treatment to enter the reproductive phase. Until recently, most research focused on the summer biotype. Increased interest in using winter camelina in the northern Great Plains has led to questions from producers wanting to produce seed and to achieve the maximum amount of fall and spring biomass growth, adequate stands, and reduce soil nitrate leaching. This study was established to determine the appropriate fall sowing date to achieve these objectives for producers to adopt large-scale planting and production of winter camelina. Establishing productive stands of camelina can be complex, because of its very small seed and need to be sown shallow in order to ensure adequate emergence and stand. Sowing dates starting 1 August and tentatively every two weeks until the middle of October for a total of six different sowing dates were evaluated in this study. Fall stands ranged from no emerged plants to 570 plants m-2 with higher stands obtained with sowing dates in early- to mid-October. Fall biomass averaged 327 kg ha-1 across all sowing dates. 




7.1 Camelina and field pennycress variety trial.

Most field pennycress plants survived the winter of 2016/2017 in Fargo, ND, but winter survival of fall established camelina was poor due to ice sheeting.  The Polish varieties Luna and Maczuga, bolted in October and winter-killed. This indicate their vernalization requirement is much less than Joelle. Seed yield was not evaluated.


7.2 Winter camelina seeding date trial

A new experiment was initiated in 2017 to determine the effect of seeding date of Joelle in its establishment and overwintering capacity. Experimental design was an RCBD with four replicates and six seeding dates. Morphological and phenological characteristics will be evaluated in the spring of 2018.

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