Comparative analysis of fatty acid composition in 84 accessions of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.)
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Department of Breeding and Agronomy of Fibrous Plants, Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants, Poland
Laboratory of Genetics and Quality Breeding, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute – National Research Institute, Poland
Grażyna Silska   

Department of Breeding and Agronomy of Fibrous Plants , Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants, Wojska Polskiego71B, 60-630, Poznań, Poland
Introduction and objective:
The aim of the study was to determine the content of five essential fatty acids in seed oil from 84 genotypes of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) from the collection of genetic resources, stored at low temperatures of the long-term storage of the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute in Radzików. The following fatty acids were evaluated: α-linolenic, linoleic, palmitic, stearic and oleic. The ranges of variability of fat content in flax seeds were also determined. In addition, it was calculated how many times the α-linolenic acid content is bigger than linoleic acid in seed oil of each accessions of flax.

Material and methods:
The research material consisted of 84 genotypes of common flax (Linum usitatissimum L.), collected and included in the samples. The fat content was determined by infrared analysis (calibration performed on the basis of a seed sample at IHAR-PIB in Poznań) by means of a NIRS 6500 spectrophotometer with a reflection detector within the range of 400–2500 nm.

The ranges of variability of individual fatty acids of 84 flax accessions are as follows: α-linolenic acid: 48.4% – 58.9%, linoleic acid: 10.3% – 17.3%, palmitic acid 4.2% – 6.6%, stearic acid 2.6% – 5.1% and oleic acid: 17.0% – 26.7%. The fat content in the seeds of the evaluated accessions ranged from 39.8% – 44.8%.

Flax seeds from the collection of the genetic resources are an excellent ingredient in food because they contain a large amount of α-linolenic acid. Dietary supplementation with linseed, also containing large amounts of α-linolenic acid and small amounts linoleic acid, allows provision of the body with the necessary ratio of the diunsaturated (n-6) to the triunsaturated fatty acid (n-3). In order to protect health, it is necessary to supplement the diet with a unique α-linolenic fatty acid that are present in only a few food ingredients.

The establishment of a field experiment and chemical analysis were financed from the long-term program “Plant improvement for sustainable agro-ecosystems, high-quality food and plant production for non-food purposes”.
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