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Genetic diversity and selection of higher plant with progeny testing of macaw for biodiesel production


There is a wide gap between supply and need for biodiesel in Brazil, where official estimates show values of the deficit of 800 million liters annually. In order to supply this demand, the challenge is to reconcile the expansion of oleaginous and sugarcane areas with the occupation of the orderly and sustainable agricultural land. In this scenario, we highlight the macaw (Acrocomia aculeata (Jacq.) Lodd. Ex Mart.). One of the most relevant Brazilian potential sources for producing biodiesel from its fruits It is a native species, pioneer, which occurs spontaneously in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas, from the southern Mexico to southern Brazil and, therefore, in almost all Brazilian territory, and high roughness. In the last three years we began inedited studies for the characterization of the environments and genetic diversity of populations occurring spontaneously in the state of Sao Paulo. Agro-morphological descriptors and microsatellites markers (FAPESP 05/56931-6) were used for this study. It has been discovered the occurrence of large masses of the species in almost all the state, especially at the border of woods, pastures or marginal rugged areas. According to estimates from our collections, some genotypes can produce 10,000 liters of oil per hectare / year in competitive conditions of cultivation. Comparing macaw with soybean it is known that the latter produces 420 liters, 890 liters sunflower and castor 1320 liters of oil per hectare / year. Thus, this project aims to complete the assessments of the genetic diversity of the species and nominate the best initial plants to begin evaluations of their progeny in three environments. To this end, it will be considered data from agro-morphological descriptors, phenology and composition and yield of the oil from its fruits, both the pulp and almond. In this phase of the study it will be collected over time plant nutrition data of the chosen initial palms, because there are indications that the plant behavior have biannual production. In parallel, studies will be undertaken to characterize genetic diversity of the plants in Sao Paulo state in relation to the species diversity, represented by plants of A. aculeata from other Brazilian states and countries where the macaw occurs naturally, through microsatellites markers. Also, it will be verified if there is the occurrence of natural hybrids between A. aculeata and A. totai in the region where both species occur sympatrically (border region between São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul), through microsatellite markers and agro-morphological descriptors. It will be observed if the A. totai can be found with almost no thorns. Studies will also be made to develop protocol for in vitro multiplication of species, aiming on the cloning and production of commercial seedlings of elite genotypes. Two doctoral students will be involved in various stages of the project. It is intended that this proposed work, unprecedented in the State, which combines technology, infrastructure and different areas of knowledge, will be key for the production and economical insertion of this important native and perennial species in the country, especially in the marginal, degraded or protected areas. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
Óleo para o biodiesel