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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: New Uses of Vegetable Oils

Author
item Hou, Ching

Submitted to: Japan Oil Chemists' Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2003
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The United States produces more than 18 billion pounds of soybean oil (SBO) annually with a yearly carryover of more than 300 million pounds. How to utilize this surplus oil effectively becomes a big issue in the agricultural community. SBO is a relatively cheap raw material at 22 to 25 cents per pound and are an attractive candidate for bioindustries. The content of unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids are 22% and 55% for soybean oil and 26% and 60% for corn oil, respectively. Currently, the major use of vegetable oils is for food products such as shortenings, salad and cooking oils, and margarines, with small quantities serving industrial applications. Total non-food uses of vegetable oils have grown little during the past 30 years. Although markets for epoxidized oils have increased, other markets have lost to competitive petroleum products. It is only through continued development of new industrial products or commercial processes that vegetable oils will be able to maintain their market share. For applications such as cosmetics, lubricants, and chemical additives, soybean oil and other vegetable oils are too viscous and too reactive toward atmospheric oxygen to establish significant markets. For other uses including coatings, detergents, polymers, flavors, agricultural chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, reactivity of vegetable oils needs to be enhanced by introducing additional functionalities or cleaving the fatty acid molecules. Currently, scientists in the U.S. are trying to find new uses for SBO. This includes biodiesel, healthy oils, specialty chemicals, and bioactive agents. Each area will be reviewed and details will be given on the production of novel oxygenated fatty acids by biotransformation.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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