G. Fila, F. Fontana, C. Maestrini and G. Bellocchi
2002, VII Congress of the European Society for Agronomy, Córdoba, Spain, 15-18 July 2002, 179-180
Crambe (Crambe abyssinica Hochst. Ex. R.E. Fries) is an oil crop from the mustard family, whose major attraction is the high erucic acid content, which makes up 55 to 60% of the seed oil (Lessman et al., 1981). Erucic acid and its by-products are used to manufacture a multitude of industrial items such as lubricants, coatings, slip-agents, plasticizers, polymers and nylon precursors (Van Dyne et al., 1990). The crop can easily be inserted in rotations in a variety of environments, it is highly resistant to pests and can be mechanized with the ordinary equipment used for wheat and rape. Breeding in crambe has a very recent history. The yields are rather unstable and still too low to compete with high erucic acid rape. Current research is focused on either improving yields or ameliorating crop adaptability to unfavourable conditions. The present work illustrates the results of a three-year variety trial, aiming at establishing crambe as a commercial crop to broaden the horizons of Italian agriculture.