Under a project to deliver a new generation of green transport fuel, researchers the Islamic Azad University in Iran have produced biodiesel from flixweed seed oil. Flixweed (Descurainia sophia), also called tansy mustard, it is a member of the mustard family like the oilseed crop, canola.
(According to the US Forest Service, Flixweed is native to Europe and northern Africa. It probably arrived in North America in the mid-1800s as an impurity in crop seed, and was widespread by the 1920s. The invasive plant now occurs in 48 states, excluding Alabama and Florida; it has also been introduced in South America, Asia, southern Africa, and New Zealand.)
Mehdi Alami, an analytical chemistry graduate of the Islamic Azad University, said they had selected flixweed as an oilseed crop for fuel production because it needs few inputs to grow—no cultivation, attention, herbicides or irrigation. Moreover, the plant grows in various climates and is non-edible, making it an ideal choice given the fuel-versus-food debate weighing on the viability of biofuels.
Alami said experiments with the crop revealed it contained 22% of oil and a fatty acid composition which makes it apt for being turned into a biofuel and biodiesel.
(A 2009 study by a team in Lithuania found flixweed seeds contained 32.2% oil.)