UK Researchers Find OSR Plants Are Weaker When Not Pollinated

By: Meghan Sapp

In the UK, when oilseed rape experiences a lack of pollination it allocates more resources to plant growth and flowering – producing less robust plants – new research has found.

Oilseed rape is an important crop with multiple uses, such as vegetable oil for human consumption and biodiesel.

However, like all floral crops, it relies on insect pollination to increase seed production.

Research in conjunction with SRUC by University of Edinburgh researchers found oilseed rape plants compensate for pollination deficits by producing 32 per cent more flowers and flowering an average of nine days longer than well-pollinated plants.

This results in taller, less structurally dense plants that are more susceptible to external factors such as excessive wind. In addition, they produce fewer pods and fewer seeds per pod.

The study found pollen deficits resulted in a reduced fruit set of 60 per cent compared to 78 per cent in pollinated plants, and produced 21 per cent fewer seeds per pod than insect-pollinated plants and 14 per cent fewer seeds than wind-pollinated plants.

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