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New Soybean Varieties Provide Healthier Soy Oil

September 18, 2010: 11:41 PM EST

U.S. and Korean researchers have identified and combined a mutant pair of alleles, or gene copies, to develop new germplasm lines that produce soy oil with significantly higher levels of oleic acid. According to the researchers, increasing soy oil's level of the monounsaturated fat oleic acid can eliminate hydrogenation, which converts liquid oil into a solid, and helps to improve shelf life and product quality. But hydrogenation also generates trans-fats, which produce more of the "bad" LDL cholesterol than the "good" HDL cholesterol. Soy oil normally contains about 20 percent oleic acid, but the new soybeans contain more than 80 percent oleic acid. Field trials in the U.S. and Central America proved that oleic-acid production in the new soy lines can stay constant in various growing conditions.

Jan Suszkiw, "New Soybeans Bred for Oil that's More Heart-Healthy", News release, USDA, September 18, 2010, © USDA
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