Oilseed crop crambe as a source of renewable energy in Brazil
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Crambe (Crambe abyssinica Hochst. Ex R. E. Fries) is an oilseed with the potential for cultivation in Brazil as a source of renewable energy in areas with tropical conditions. Crambe oil contains erucic acid, giving it economic importance for use in the electricity sector. Crambe oil can be used in insulating fluids and in the manufacture of chemical products and biodiesel without competing with human food production. As it is a new crop in Brazil, the scientific literature on crambe is still scarce. This review discusses general aspects of agricultural production and the potential applications of crambe associated mainly with the manufacture of biodiesel. The topics discussed in this review include: (i) genetic improvement of crambe; (ii) agronomic practices of production, pests, diseases, harvesting, storage, and economic viability; (iii) industrial use of crambe oil as an electrical insulator and in biodiesel; (iv) detoxification of the co-product generated during oil extraction for use in animal feed and use of the co-product in the natural bioremediation of contaminants; and (v) the challenges of increasing crambe production. Crambe has a remarkable future as a source of renewable energy in Brazil. Strategies to boost its cultivation, such as the identification of improved varieties and optimization of production system logistics, marketing, and resource allocation, should be adopted.