Soybean Market Could Triple, Thanks to More Soy Oil in Offset Printing InksBy Linda McGraw
March 3, 1998
When Agricultural Research Service
chemist Sevim Erhan moved to Illinois in 1988, she personalized her license
plate with "INK 26." When her daughter was born in 1995, the baby was
the first in the United States to mark her footprints in soybean ink on her
birth certificate. Now another legacy awaits Erhan's daughter: books and
magazines printed with soybean oil ink developed by her mother, who leads ARS
oil chemical research in
ARS and Erhan have patented the ink formulation for both heat-set and
sheet-fed offset printing. Marvin O. Bagby, now retired from ARS, was a
co-inventor of the ink formulations.
Ink for every use--from printing money to paper grocery bags--requires a
special formula. Heat-set web printing is used to produce books and magazines.
The potential market for heat-set web printing is about 423 million pounds of
ink. Sheet-fed offset printing in the United States takes another 100 million
pounds of ink. A previously ARS-patented soy ink formula for newspapers has a
market potential of 500 million pounds.
Currently, non-food uses for soybeans amount to only 300 million pounds.
Altogether, ARS' soy ink technology could triple the non-food market for U.S.
The American Soybean Association
requires a minimum of 7 percent soy oil in the formula for an ink manufacturer
to use the ASA soy seal on a product's container. The ARS ink formulation for
heat-set web offset printing contains more than 50 percent soy oil in the
Soy ink's benefits to consumers: it won't rub off on their hands, and it
means a safer environment. For the printing industry, the soybean-based ink
vehicle permits faster and less-expensive clean-up. The ARS soy oil ink breaks
down five times faster than petroleum-based commercial inks.
Scientific contact: Sevim Erhan, ARS-USDA,
National Center for Agricultural
Utilization Research, 1815 N. University Street, Peoria, IL 61604, phone
(309) 681-6531, fax (309) 681-6340,