Research Chemist USDA, ARS, NCAUR Peoria, Illinois
Camelina (Camelina sativa, Brassicaceae), an emerging alternative feedstock for biofuels and protein production, was successfully engineered by researchers at Michigan State University to produce seeds with oil containing high levels of 3-acetyl-1,2-diacyl-sn-glycerol (acetyl-TAG). Acetyl-TAG (ac-TAG)was reported to be beneficial in emulsifiers, plasticizers, fuels, biolubricants and hydraulic fluids. Previous work by our group demonstrated that the genetic modification had non-detrimental effects on camelina protein composition, extractability and solubility. In the current research, camelina mucilage removal (degumming) prior to protein extraction was evaluated for its effects on yield and properties. Mucilage was extracted using a technique adapted from NCAUR-developed aqueous method. Camelina ac-TAG had greater mucilage yield than wild camelina (42 versus 35%), but mucilage from both samples had co-extracted protein (20-24%). Degumming resulted in increased purity of protein extract from both camelina samples (from 80-85% to 83-90 % crude protein), but increased protein yield (by 31 %) was observed only in degummed camelina ac-TAG. Protein extracts from the degummed samples also showed markedly higher solubility from pH 7 to pH 10 than those from undegummed camelina (at least 60% greater amounts of soluble protein). Degumming had no effect on thermal stability of the camelina proteins. This work successfully produced two major co-products from camelina, mucilage and protein, that would expand markets and boost the value of the oilseed crop.