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Campina Grande, Brazil

Harand W.,INSA Instituto Nacional do Semiarido | Felix L.P.,Federal University of Paraiba
Revista Brasileira de Botanica

As of 2014, Brazilian legislation requires the share of diesel substituted by biodiesel to be raised from 5 to 7 %. However, throughout the last years, Northeastern Brazil has only been able to supply roughly 50 % of what was legally required. There seems to be no perspective to increase this proportion without developing new oilseeds adapted to the regions’ diverse edapho-climatic conditions. The vast majority of it’s over 10,000 angiosperms has never been analysed for their potential as alternative oilseeds and none is being used. In the present study, we surveyed available databases to uncover genera with high absolute or relative numbers of species rich in seed oil that occur in Northeastern Brazil. This strategic selection was used to reveal species with high seed oil content. Five per cent of the angiosperm biodiversity turned out to have an elevated probability to be rich in seed oil. This set of 589 species was grouped according to the probability of finding seeds rich in oil, as well as growth habit and phytogeographic domain. In six examples of hitherto unstudied species from different genera, domains and habits, the accuracy of the prediction was confirmed. An evaluation of the published fatty acid profile of 58 species native to the region allowed to detect distinct patterns for quick evaluation of the compatibility of a vegetable oil with US and European biodiesel standards. Hence, the results of this research offer an excellent basis for developing well adapted, high yielding alternative oilseeds from the native flora for sustainable biodiesel production in Northeastern Brazil. © 2015, Botanical Society of Sao Paulo. Source

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