Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2017Peer reviewed

Production of wax esters in the wild oil species Lepidium campestre

Ivarson, Emelie; Iven, Tim; Sturtevant, Drew; Ahlman, Annelie; Cai, Yingqi; Chapman, Kent; Feussner, Ivo; Zhu, Li-Hua


The objective of this study was to evaluate whether wax esters could be produced, and to determine what types of wax esters could be produced in the wild oil species field cress (Lepidium campestre L.). Wax esters produced in plants are perhaps best suited for lubrication applications; however, natural sources of plant-derived wax esters are limited and new resources need to be generated. Moreover, the composition of wax esters needs to be optimized in planta in order to suit various end uses for commercial applications. In this study, three jojoba wax ester synthesis genes under a seed specific promoter were introduced into field cress. The results show that expressing the jojoba genes produced various amounts of wax esters in the seed oil of field cress with C42 and C44 as the most abundant wax ester molecular species. The additional expression of a jojoba fatty acyl-coenzyme A elongase resulted in an increased level of longer chain C46 and C48 wax esters. The cellular distribution of neutral lipids appeared to be disrupted in the transgenic seeds with high wax ester content compared with wild type and wax esters were mainly localized in the seed coat. Collectively, the results indicate that field cress has the potential to be developed as a new industrial oil crop for wax ester production, and an improved understanding of mechanisms for the correct packaging of wax esters in seeds may influence wax ester amounts accumulated in transgenic crops.


Wild oil species; Wax ester; Neutral lipid; Metabolic engineering; Industrial oil; Lepidium campestre

Published in

Industrial Crops and Products
2017, Volume: 108, pages: 535-542