Vernonia (Vernonia galamensis) is a new potential industrial oilseed crop. The seeds of this crop contain unusual naturally epoxidised fatty acids which are used in the production of various industrial products. The objective of this study was to evaluate and select vernonia lines in Limpopo province through seed oil content, fatty acid content and RAPD DNA markers. Significant differences were observed for the content of seed oil (22.4 - 29.05%), vernolic acid (73.09 - 76.83%), linoleic acid (13.02 - 14.05%), oleic acid (3.77 - 5.28%), palmitic acid (2.48 - 2.98%) and stearic acid (2.26 - 2.75%). Among the 13 RAPD DNA primers screened, primer OPA10 amplified DNA samples and resulted in 4 distinct groupings among tested lines. Four promising lines were selected; Vge-16, Vge-20, Vge-27 and Vge-32 using seed oil content, fatty acids and RAPD markers. The lines will be used for strategic breeding of vernonia as an alternative industrial oil crop in Limpopo province of South Africa or other similar environments.
Key words: Limpopo province, fatty acid, RAPD, seed oil, vernonia.
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