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Commercial production of chia in Northwestern Argentina

Wayne Coates and Ricardo Ayerza (h)

Bioresources Research Facility

The University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, USA

The economy of Northwestern Argentina depends heavily on sugar and tobacco. Depressed prices for these crops in recent years have caused significant economic problems, and alternative crops are actively being sought. Chia (Salvia hispanica .), a source of industrial oil for the cosmetics industry and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid for the food industry, is one new crop that could help diversify the local economy. A project to develop chia as a commercial crop was initiated in 1991. In 1996, 13 fields were commercially grown in two provinces of Northwestern Argentina. Biomass production and seed yields were affected by weather, location, and production practices. Average seed yield was 606 kg/ha. Oil content and fatty acid composition varied between fields.

JAOCS 75, 1417 – 1420 (1998).Key words: α-linolenic acid, fatty acids, Salvia hispanica L.

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