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Dynamics of oil and tocopherol accumulation in sunflower grains and its impact on final oil quality

González Belo, R., Nolasco, S., Mateo, C., Izquierdo, N.
European journal of agronomy 2017 v.89 pp. 124-130
Helianthus annuus, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, fatty acid composition, field experimentation, filling period, genotype, grains, oleic acid, solar radiation, tocopherols, vegetable oil
Tocopherols are one of the most important bioactive compounds in vegetable oils. It is known that these antioxidants present a dilution like relationship with oil weight per grain but the mechanism underlying this relationship are unknown. The aim of this work was to analyze the dynamics of tocopherol accumulation in sunflower grains, its relationship with oil accumulation and its effects on final oil quality in genotypes with different fatty acid composition. Three field experiments were conducted with genotypes with different potential fatty acid composition (a traditional, a high oleic and a high stearic−high oleic) and treatments with different source (intercepted solar radiation) or sink (grains) during grain filling to obtain varied grain filling conditions and grains with different oil concentration and oil unsaturation. Intercepted solar radiation modified oil per grain but did not affect tocopherol per grain. The rate of accumulation explained 79% and 74% of the oil and tocopherol per grain variation, respectively. When intercepted solar radiation increased, the duration of the period of oil and tocopherols accumulation increased, being the first the most responsive. These differences in the duration of accumulation periods are reflected in a larger relative increase in oil than tocopherols per grain and thus a dilution of the latter in the oil. These differences in the dynamics of oil and tocopherol accumulation are common to genotypes with different level of unsaturation. These results help to understand the mechanism associated with the dilution curve of oil tocopherol concentration reported in the literature.