RESULTS: A total of 3412 (2001 annotated) gene candidates were found to be significantly differentially expressed between high- and low-yielding palms at at least one of the different stages of mesocarp development evaluated. Gene Ontologies (GO) enrichment analysis identified 28 significantly enriched GO terms, including regulation of transcription, fatty acid biosynthesis and metabolic processes. These differentially expressed genes comprise several transcription factors, such as, bHLH, Dof zinc finger proteins and MADS box proteins. Several genes involved in glycolysis, TCA, and fatty acid biosynthesis pathways were also found up-regulated in high-yielding oil palm, among them; pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component Subunit Beta (PDH), ATP-citrate lyase, β- ketoacyl-ACP synthases I (KAS I), β- ketoacyl-ACP synthases III (KAS III) and ketoacyl-ACP reductase (KAR). Sucrose metabolism-related genes such as Invertase, Sucrose Synthase 2 and Sucrose Phosphatase 2 were found to be down-regulated in high-yielding oil palms, compared to the lower yield palms.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that a higher carbon flux (channeled through down-regulation of the Sucrose Synthase 2 pathway) was being utilized by up-regulated genes involved in glycolysis, TCA and fatty acid biosynthesis leading to enhanced oil production in the high-yielding oil palm. These findings are an important stepping stone to understand the processes that lead to production of high-yielding oil palms and have implications for breeding to maximize oil production.
RESULTS: Three days of incubation in darkness increased saturated fatty acid (SFA) content from 34.0 to 41.4% but decreased monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content from 36.7 to 29.8%. Palmitic acid (C16:0) content was increased from 23.2 to 28.9%, whereas oleic acid (C18:1) content was reduced from 35.4 to 28.8%. Total oil content was slightly decreased from 20.4 to 18.7% after 3 days of darkness, without a significant reduction in biomass compared to 3 days of incubation in light. Biomass and oil content was highest in cultures incubated for 6 days in light, however the stimulatory and inhibitory effects of darkness (or light) on SFA and MUFA content was no longer present at 6 days of incubation.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study suggests that fatty acid composition in C. vulgaris could be modulated to favor either C16:0 or C18:1 by a brief period of either darkness or light incubation, prior to harvesting.