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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2006 Annual Report

1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Soybean oil is the major food oil of the U.S. and the rest of the world. In order to provide functional properties and resistance to thermal and oxidative breakdown, soybean oil must be hydrogenated which in turn produces trans fatty acid isomers. The presence of trans isomers in food oils represents a major problem for the industry since trans has been implicated as serum cholesterol elevating agents in humans. On July 11, 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized food labeling regulations. By January 1, 2006, food manufacturers will be required to list trans acids on labels. The trans issue has prompted the industry to seek to formulate food oils including interesterification, plant breeding, and genetic modification.

The primary goal for this project is to provide healthier, safer, nutritious and functional food oil products from commodity vegetable oils. The objectives of this project include: (1) Develop novel processing technologies to reduce trans and saturated acid content of food oils, (2) Develop novel emulsifier systems for fats and oils and develop basic information on the solubility and phase behavior of functional triglycerides in model and complex systems.

Approaches to solving these problems include development of modified hydrogenation techniques through control of selectivity by pressure, temperature, catalyst, and agitation, use of binary gas mixtures, and computer modeling. Starch lipid complexes made by the jet cooking of lecithin and starch will be prepared and incorporated into emulsifier systems for food products. The solubility and phase behavior of simple and complex triglycerides will be determined to ascertain their functional roles in food products.

This project contributes to National Program 306 on "Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products" under Component 1 for "Quality Characterization, Preservation, and Enhancement," Problem Area 1a., "Definition and Basis for Quality." This research contributes to developing new knowledge to understand the roles of product composition, molecular structure, and physical state for optimum end use performance of edible vegetable oils. Technologies are developed to produce new food oil products with increased nutrition and other quality traits consistent with consumer demands. The research also contributes to meeting the ARS goal for genetic improvement of oilseeds for quality attributes for good quality products.

2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
Objective 1. Year 1: Identify and establish parameters necessary to suppress trans acid formation during the catalytic hydrogenation of substrates. Complete work on binary gas mixtures and novel substrates.

Years 2 and 3: Investigate computer modeling to prepare candidates for food applications. Prepare and evaluate food products for consumer acceptance, performance and sensory/texture attributes.

Years 4 and 5: Complete all studies, transfer technology through presentations, technical publications and technology transfer activities with the edible oil/food industry.

Objective 2. Year 1: Prepare starch lipid complexes from various lecithin sources. Prepare and evaluate starch lipid complexes as emulsifiers for food oil products.

Years 2 and 3: Prepare and evaluate food products from promising candidates. Synthesize and characterize functional triglycerides with respect to solubility, phase behavior and crystallization properties in model and complex systems.

Years 4 and 5: Complete all studies and technology transfer activities. Complete computer modeling of physical property structure relationships.

4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Alternatives to trans fats. Trans fatty acid labeling on nutrition labels became effective January 1, 2006 and as a result the food industry has been forced to seek alternatives to hydrogenated vegetable oils. The U.S. produces substantial quantities of beef fats which could fill the need for reduced trans fats. Studies have shown that low trans baking fats can be prepared from beef tallow/vegetable oil blends. Products with a wide range of solid fat/melting points are possible using this technology. Similar studies have shown that palm oil based products can serve as low trans replacements in baking applications. Studies were completed on the application of electrochemical hydrogenation to prepare shortenings and spread oils. This project is part of NP 306 under Component 1 for "Quality Characterization, Preservation, and Enhancement."

4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.

4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.

4d.Progress report.

5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
Technologies developed to produce foods with zero or low trans acid content are of much interest to consumers and the edible oil industry because of health/nutritional issues and food labeling regulations effective January 1, 2006. Studies on the formulation of margarines/spreads from hi-stearic acid soybean oils have shown that products formulated from them have suitable physical and sensory properties, thus providing an outlet for these crops estimated to have a market value in excess of $130,000,000.

Pressured controlled hydrogenation and hydrogenation in binary gas systems (CO2 and H2) have shown great promise in reducing and suppressing trans acid formation. In contrast to commercially prepared basestocks containing 40% trans, hydrogenation at moderately high pressures produces products containing about 17% trans. When blended with additional liquid oil, soft spreads with about 5% trans result. Typically trans acid contents of less than 5% will meet labeling requirements for trans fatty acids.

These accomplishments are part of NP 306 under Component 1 for "Quality Characterization, Preservation, and Enhancement."

6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
Technologies developed at NCAUR have been exploited commercially by at least three major edible oil producers. A company has introduced a line of low trans baking shortenings based on a combination of high pressure and a modified nickel catalyst. A plant in Europe is producing reduced trans fats for shortening and spread oils. A company has introduced a line of low trans fats inspired by NCAUR research. A company has developed high saturate soybeans that expect to be in commercial production by the end of the decade. Much of the technical research on these crops was carried out at NCAUR.

7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
List, G.R., Adlof, R.O., King, J.W. 2006. Trans fatty acids in specialty lipids. In: Shahidi, F., editor. Nutraceutical and specialty lipids and their co-products. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 449-467.

Orthoefer, F., List, G.R. 2006. Phospholipids/lecithin: A class of nutraceutical lipids. In: Shahidi, F., editor. Nutraceutical and specialty lipids and their co-products. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 509-530.

List, G.R. 2006. Giants of the past: Hippolyte Mege (1817-1880). Inform. 17:264.

Adlof, R.O. 2006. Silver ion HPLC using acetonitrile in hexane as solvent. Lipid Technology. 18(6):136-138.

Orthoefer, F., Cooper, D., List, G.R. 2006. Initial quality of frying oil. In: Deep fat frying. AOCS Press. (submitted)

Orthoefer, F., Gurkin, S., Lui, K., List, G.R. 2006. Dynamics of frying. In: Deep fat frying. AOCS Press. (submitted)

Orthoefer, F., Cooper, D., List, G.R. 2006. Evaluation of used frying oil. In: Deep fat frying. AOCS Press. (submitted) List, G.R., Warner, K.A., Pintauro, P.N., Gil, M. 2006. Low trans shortening and spread oils via electrochemical hydrogenation. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society (submitted)

Adlof, R.O., List, G.R. 2006. Synthesis and physical properties of EOE and EEO, triacylglycerols containing elaidic and oleic acid. Lipids. (submitted)

Adlof, R.O., List. G.R. 2006. The analysis of structured lipids synthesized and in commercial formulations by SPF/Ag HPLC. Journal of Chromatography A (submitted)

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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