Palm oil production from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is vital for the economy of Malaysia. As of late, sustainable production of palm oil has been a key focus due to demand by consumer groups, and important progress has been made in establishing standards that promote good agricultural practices that minimize impact on the environment. In line with the industrial goal to build a traceable supply chain, several measures have been implemented to ensure that traceability can be monitored. Although the palm oil supply chain can be highly complex, and achieving full traceability is not an easy task, the industry has to be proactive in developing improved systems that support the existing methods, which rely on recorded information in the supply chain. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) as the custodian of the palm oil industry in Malaysia has taken the initiative to assess and develop technologies that can ensure authenticity and traceability of palm oil in the major supply chains from the point of harvesting all the way to key downstream applications. This review describes the underlying framework related to palm oil geographical traceability using various state-of-the-art analytical techniques, which are also being explored to address adulteration in the global palm oil supply chain.
Oil palm breeding involves crossing dura and pisifera palms to produce tenera progeny with greatly improved oil yield. Oil yield is controlled by variant alleles of a type II MADS-box gene, SHELL, that impact the presence and thickness of the endocarp, or shell, surrounding the fruit kernel. We identified six novel SHELL alleles in noncommercial African germplasm populations from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. These populations provide extensive diversity to harness genetic, mechanistic and phenotypic variation associated with oil yield in a globally critical crop. We investigated phenotypes in heteroallelic combinations, as well as SHELL heterodimerization and subcellular localization by yeast two-hybrid, bimolecular fluorescence complementation and gene expression analyses. Four novel SHELL alleles were associated with fruit form phenotype. Candidate heterodimerization partners were identified, and interactions with EgSEP3 and subcellular localization were SHELL allele-specific. Our findings reveal allele-specific mechanisms by which variant SHELL alleles impact yield, as well as speculative insights into the potential role of SHELL in single-gene oil yield heterosis. Future field trials for combinability and introgression may further optimize yield and improve sustainability.