Characterising Floral Scent in Oilseed Rape to Improve Crop Pollination and Yield

Insects such as bees are critical for the pollination of many plants, including crops.

In oilseed rape, there is an 18% increase in seed set and 20% increase in market value when plants are pollinated in the field by insects.

We are studying the chemical composition of floral scent in oilseed rape to find out how this varies between varieties and the influence it can have on attracting pollinators and pests.

We are also interested in how the volatile compounds released by the plant influence allergic reactions to oilseed rape.

Our Research

To investigate this, we are combining analysis of floral scents of oilseed rape varieties with pollinator electrophysiological and behavioural trials.

We plan to:

  • Characterise the chemical diversity of floral scent within oilseed rape
  • Identify floral scent compounds which are relevant to pollinator attraction
  • Our long-term goal is to determine the genetic basis of scent traits to enable integration into market-ready backgrounds, potentially for improved pollinator attraction, reduced pest attraction and reduced allergenicity