New Soybean Promises Healthier Soy
Oil By Rosalie
February 13, 2004
Oil from soybeans bred from a new line of germplasm could
someday be a contender for olive oil's front-runner position as highest in
heart-healthy levels of monounsaturated fats.
The germplasm--the starting point for cultivating new soybean
lines--was developed through traditional breeding methods by
Agricultural Research Service scientists.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
chief scientific research agency.
The scientists, with the ARS
Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation
Research Laboratory in Raleigh, N.C., were led by agronomist Joseph W.
Burton. The germplasm will be a useful genetic resource for breeding soybean
varieties suitable for different growing regions.
Oil from beans from the germplasm line contains increased levels
of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat stable enough for use in salad dressings
or frying oils without treatment by the hardening process called hydrogenation.
Such hardening is achieved by chemically adding hydrogen to a chain of oil
molecules. The hydrogenation serves as a stabilizer to make oils suitable for
use in solid products such as margarines, breakfast bars and baked goods. But
it also creates less healthy trans fatty acids.
Oil from the germplasm line also has less than half the highly
unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFAs) of today's commercial soy oils.
PFAs are liquid fats known to cause undesirable odors and to break down when
oxidized by aging or the high heat of frying. The new line's low PFA level
means that even without hydrogenation, its oils would be as stable as most
hydrogenated oils, and yet not oxidize as quickly as other soybean oils.
about this research in the February issue of Agricultural Research