Camelina (Camelina sativa L. Crantz) under low-input management systems in northern Italy: Yields, chemical characterization and environmental sustainability

  • Roberto Matteo Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops, Bologna, Italy.
  • Lorenzo D’Avino Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Firenze, Italy.
  • Lenin Javier Ramirez-Cando Department of Agricultural and Forest Engineering, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy; School of Biological Sciences and Engineering, Yachay Tech University, Urcuquí, Ecuador.
  • Eleonora Pagnotta Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops, Bologna, Italy.
  • Luciana G. Angelini Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  • Paolo Spugnoli Department of Agricultural and Forest Engineering, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy.
  • Silvia Tavarini | silvia.tavarini@unipi.it Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  • Luisa Ugolini Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops, Bologna, Italy.
  • Lara Foschi Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  • Luca Lazzeri Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops, Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

Camelina can be considered a valuable crop for bio-based products and biofuels, but, to date, there are still many uninvestigated aspects concerning the optimization of its agricultural management and its environmental impact. Consequently, a low-input camelina cultivation has been realized, in northern Italy environment, through a 4-year camelina-wheat rotation in open field. In these conditions, camelina was grown as winter crop. Camelina reached, over the years, a variable (CV=28%) mean seed yield of 0.82 Mg ha–1. This notwithstanding, the oil content - 39.17% (CV=3%) - and its related quality were rather stable, reaching an oil yield of 320 kg ha–1 particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The low input cultivation system here adopted implied an energy ratio (output energy/input energy) of 4 and a 30% decrease in Global Warming Potential per hectare, compared to the standard value reported by the European Renewable Energy Directive for sunflower, reducing, at the same time, other relevant environmental burdens. However, due to its relatively low oil production, the full use of all camelina co-products should be considered in order to fulfil the sustainability requirements for European jet fuel production. In fact, stability of yields and quality of oil, oilcake and straws makes low-input camelina eligible for many other novel green chemistry applications.

 

Highlights
- Camelina sativa productivity and sustainability were assessed in a 4-years field trial
- C. sativa seed and oil quality were remarkably stable over time
- Carbon footprint and energy analysis of C. sativa cultivation were reported
- Jet fuel from camelina proved to be feasible but not sustainable
- A biorefinery approach of whole plant co-products is crucial to reach sustainability

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Published
2020-05-14
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Original Articles
Keywords:
Biorefinery, cropping system, life cycle assessment, global warming potential, greenhouse gases.
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How to Cite
Matteo, R., D’Avino, L., Ramirez-Cando, L. J., Pagnotta, E., Angelini, L. G., Spugnoli, P., Tavarini, S., Ugolini, L., Foschi, L., & Lazzeri, L. (2020). Camelina (<em>Camelina sativa</em&gt; L. Crantz) under low-input management systems in northern Italy: Yields, chemical characterization and environmental sustainability. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 15(2), 132-143. https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2020.1519