High-oleic soybean trait gets feds’ approval

Seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred plans to shoot for Canadian registration of its high-oleic trait in soybeans for 2010, after federal agencies have approved its production for food and feed.

“This is a significant milestone in our effort to bring the high oleic soybean trait to market,” Paul Schickler, president of DuPont-owned PHB, said in a release last week after Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) granted their approvals.

PHB says its high-oleic soybean trait is over three times higher in “heart-healthy” monounsaturated fats and has levels of saturated fat reduced by over 20 per cent compared to “commodity” soybean oil.

Like low linolenic soybean oil, high oleic soybean oil eliminates the need for hydrogenation, resulting in foods with “negligible” amounts of trans fats, PHB said last week.

“We’re seeing strong results in field testing of soybeans with the high oleic trait and strong interest from food companies looking for a new oil product with improved nutritional qualities and performance characteristics,” Schickler said.

PHB said its oil testing results from high oleic soybeans produced in 2008 again confirmed that the oil contains about 80 per cent oleic acid, a level the company said will “significantly” increase the stability of the oil when used in frying and food processing, meaning the oil doesn’t break down as quickly.

As well, the company said, the oil’s high stability in industrial settings may allow companies to use it in developing “renewable, environmentally sustainable options” to petroleum-based products.

Soybeans are grown on more acres than any other oilseed crop in North America, PHB said, “making high oleic soybeans a cost-effective solution.”

PHB said it plans introduce the high oleic soybean trait in its Y Series soybean varieties. These varieties, the company said, will be field-tested in the U.S. and Canada during the 2009 growing season, with potential Canadian registration of the first products in 2010.

Canada and Mexico are the first countries to complete regulatory reviews of the high oleic trait, PHB said, noting it completed U.S. regulatory submissions for approval of the trait in December 2006.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed its review of high oleic soybeans earlier this year and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently reviewing the trait.

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