New Healthful Sunflower Oil Resists BreakdownBy Ben Hardin
June 11, 1998
NuSun, a healthful vegetable oil from new sunflower hybrids, is
designed to make foods taste better and stay fresh longer.
The new oil is low in saturated fat. It has several times as much
oleic acid and less than half as much linoleic acid as traditional sunflower
oil. Some studies indicate that a moderately low-fat diet with a high oleic
acid content lowers serum cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease.
Linoleic acid content, though lower in NuSun oil, is still high
enough for desired flavor in fried foods. In sensory panel evaluations,
tortilla chips fried in the low-linoleic NuSun oil stayed fresh-tasting longer
than chips fried in commercial sunflower oil. NuSun holds up well in frying
vats even without hydrogenation, a process normally required to protect oils
from flavor deterioration.
In field trials by ARS scientists, NuSun yields were equal to
traditional sunflower varieties. This year, growers planted 100,000 acres of
NuSun hybrids. The new sunflowers could spur a doubling of U.S. oilseed
sunflower acreage from its present 2.2 million acres by 2001.
Plant geneticist Jerry Miller and colleagues at the Red River
Valley Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, N.D., found that a single dominant
gene enables NuSun hybrids to produce oil with a 60 to 75 percent oleic acid
More details about NuSun hybrids appear in the June issue of
Agricultural Research magazine. The article is also on the World Wide Web
Scientific contacts: Jerry F. Miller, Red River Valley
Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, ND, 58105; phone (701) 239-1321, fax
number (701) 239-1346, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warner, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N.
University Street, Peoria, IL 61604; phone (309) 681-6555, fax number (309)