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Last update: May 2021

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Genetic characterization of seed and meal composition in canola




Context and Issues

Population growth and rising living standards will lead to an increase in food consumption in oils and vegetable proteins by 2030. The resources for vegetable oils will meet demands for food, energy or chemical usages in the future. However, the supply in oil cake will be critical. Currently, the production of plant proteins for animal feed in Europe is experiencing a supply deficit of ~ 70%. Reducing the deficit in the future is a major challenge for the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

The main oilseed crops are also sources of plant proteins and the resulting seed cake is used for livestock feeding. However, the quality of rapeseed meal is significantly lower than that of soybean meal in terms of protein content, amino acid balance and in vivo digestibility, which limits its use and requires the France and Europe Western dependence towards soybean meal. The quality of rapeseed meal is influenced by factors intrinsic to the seed, as well as treatments related to the trituration that is currently optimized for the oil extraction. The challenge for oilseed sector is to develop, alongside the high-valuable oil product, the meal as a separate product with a high added value, and no longer as a sub/co-product of oil extraction.


The SEEDQUAL project aims to 1) provide a detailed description of the composition of the rapeseed, in particular in fibers and proteins, 2) identify the genetic variability available for the different seed components; and 3) to develop medium-high throughput tools to evaluate these variables in breeding programs.


SEEDQUAL's partners have complementary skills that will combine quantitative genetics, structural genomics, functional genomics and analytical biochemistry. In each of the research teams, seed development, as well as the quality and use of the reserves are major research topics on which the 3 entities have focused their efforts for several years.

Main Results

The main expected outcomes of the project concern cognitive aspects such as 1) the identification of the genetic and molecular determinants of seed quality in rapeseed and Arabidopsis, 2) the development of optimized protocol(s) for evaluating the composition of reserve proteins and fibers, and 3) the determination of the range of variability for seed composition in Brassicaceae.


  • IGEPP, Rennes – Nathalie NESI
  • BIA, Nantes – Véronique Solé-Jamault
  • IJPB, Versailles – Sophie Jasinski

Funding and Support