Lunaria annua, Cardamine greca and Teesdalia nudicaulis FAE genes and their use in producing nervonic and eicosenoic acids in seed oils [Express]



This invention relates to the field of plant biotechnology and specifically to methods of altering cell, plant and seed oil composition through expression of fatty acid elongase (FAE) genes. Uses of these genes for producing transgenic cells, plants and seeds resulting in host oils having increased proportions of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs), especially nervonic acid eicosenoic acids, are described.

Technology transfer

This technology is available for licensing. There is an opportunity for this invention to be developed for particular applications and for demonstration of the final product through a collaborative research project. The business opportunity may be referred to by its NRC ID: 11629

Market applications

There are various applications in a number of sectors from industrial to pharmaceutical. VLCFA oils and enriched VLCFA fatty acid fractions and derivatives therefrom, have applications in the manufacture of bio-jet and bio-diesel fuels, enhanced oil recovery surfactants, bio-plastics and many other industrial products. Additionally, oils enriched in nervonic acid have applications in infant and maternal nutrition, symptomatic treatment of neuro-degenerative disease states (MS, ALD, Parkinson's), Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and skin disorders, and are also components of many personal care products.

How it works

Fatty acid elongases encoded by the FAE gene, specific examples of which are disclosed in the current patent, are part of a system for producing VLCFAs in cells, plants and seeds called the FAE Complex. The FAE Complex is composed of four enzymes, of which the fatty acid elongase, FAE, is the first, the rate-limiting and the only highly selective/specific enzyme in the complex, and determines the ultimate chain length of the FAE complex product- VLCFAs. FAEs with certain specificities or preferences can be expressed in cells, plants and seeds to tailor the composition of their oils. Expressing the FAE genes of the current invention can be used to specifically favour production of oils enriched in nervonic and eicosenoic acids.


  • New cell and plant platforms can be created to deliver oils enriched in specific VLCFAs
  • Such platforms are renewable, sustainable sources of VLCFAs


NRC file 11629:

Contact us

To inquire about this technology, please contact:

Laurel O'Connor MBA, MIT
Acting Business Advisor, ACRD
Telephone: 306-975-4573