Oilseeds of the future part 3

By Catherine Watkins

In This Section

July 2009

The final collection of questionnaire responses in a series of three articles highlighting trait-modified oilseeds in the global R&D pipeline concludes with a look at work in safflower, soy and sunflower.

SAFFLOWER (Carthamus tinctorius)

Arcadia Biosciences, Davis, Illinois, USA
What: High-GLA (more than 40% g-linolenic acid) safflower oil.

How: Genetic modification.

Benefits: Arcadia's GLA safflower plants produce concentrations two to four times higher than traditional sources, with yields of more than 40% GLA oil. High-GLA safflower will be used as a replacement for borage oil and will be used in supplements, medical foods, and cosmetics.

When: We are in the process of completing pre-commercialization activities," the company notes. Seed is currently available for planting for a Phase 1 rollout. However, as a proprietary product, seed will not be made available for sale. As for when oil might be avalible for use by the food industry, Arcadia says: "We are currently finalizing data and preparing our premarket notification submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for GLA safflower. We cannot speculate on how long thier review will take, but a typical submission usuallly takes several months for the agency to complete its review. In the meantime, we are wrapping up commercialization activities so we are ready to begin commercialization once the regulatory process is complete."

Samples: Samples are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2009.

Contact: Frank Flider, vice president business development (frank.flider@arcadiabio.com).

SOY (Glycine max)

Embrapa Soybean, Londrina, Paraná State, Brazil

What: Former AOCS Governing Board member Mercedes Carrão Panizzi reports that her group is working on a number of traits in soy, including:
Null-lipoxygenase beans, or soybean minus the three isoenzymes L1, L2, and L3 responsible for the objectionable, beany flavor that appears in soy foods that are not well processed.
Reduced trypsin inhibitor beans for improved protein digestibility.
High protein content beans.
Reduced a-linolenic acid beans for lowering trans fatty acid content in foods.
Large seed size for tofu production.
Small seed size for the production of sprouts and natto.
Vegetable-type soybeans for use as edamame.

How: Conventional breeding.

Benefits: The availability of special cultivars can improve soybean processing, with the aim of producing better quality soy products.

When: The market for soybeans in Brazil has undergone "impressive growth" in the last five years, Panizzi notes. Through conventional breeding, specialty characteristics can be introduced, making the varieties more suitable for different uses and processing. Toward this end, Embrapa Soybean has released for commercial cultivation the cultivars BRS 213 (null lipoxygenase), BRS 257 (null lipoxygenase), BRS 258 (for organic production-mild flavor, large seed size, and yellow hilum), BRS 216 (small seed size-10 g/100 seeds), and BRS 267 (large seed size, superior flavor, suitable for tofu, flours, and soymil). BRS can be consumed as a green vegetable when harvested at the R6 stage.

When: "At the moment, breeding lines are in the field for evaluation," Panizzi writes. BRS 258, BRS 257, and BRS 267 are available on the Brazilian market. However, the last two varieties have a limited amount of available seeds, because these cultivars are for niche markets.

Samples: Commercial varieties are available only for those institutions that have an agreement with Embrapa's International Secretariat.

Contact: Mercedes Carrão Panizzi, senior researcher and plant breeder (mercedes@cnpso.embrapa.br).

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Missouri, USA

What: High-oleic, low-saturate, low-linolenic soybeans, with oleic acid increased from 24% to 75%, linoleic acid decreased from 52% to 15%, and a-linolenic acid decreased from 8% to <3%.

How: Genetic modification

Benefits: Zero grams trans fat, reduced saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat. For processors and food companies, the oil constitutes an additional alternative in soy with high fry and heat stability.

When: Seed and oil will be available in three to five years.

Samples: Samples are available in pail quantities.

Contact: Rick Wilkes, director, Food Application (Richard.S.Wilkes@monsanto.com).

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Missouri, USA

What: High-stearate soybeans, with stearic acid content increased from 5% to 15-20%. The fatty acid targets for this oil are: palmitic (9%), stearic (15-20%), oleic (23%), linoleic (43%), and a-linolenic (<4%).

How: Conventional breeding.

Benefits: Oil from these soybeans will have zero grams trans fat and will serve as a solid fat alternative, according to Monsanto. For processors, the oil will constitute an additional soybean alternative to meet solid fat functionality.

When: Seed and oil will be available in three to five years.

Samples: Samples are available in pail to drum quantities.

Contact: Rick Wilkes, director, Food Application (Richard.S.Wilkes@monsanto.com).

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Missouri, USA

What: Stearidonic acid-enriched soybeans (in collaboration with Solae, LLC), with stearidonic acid levels increased from 0% to 20%. The fatty acid targets for this oil are: stearidonic (20%), palmitic (12%), stearic (4%), oleic (20%), linoleic (24%), and a-linolenic (10%).

How: Genetic modification.

Benefits: Ingestion of the oil "helps maintain a healthy heart by significantly increasing levels of eicosapentaenoic acid in red blood cells," Monsanto says. In addition, the oil represents a sustainable, plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids that will maintain the flavor and shelf life of traditional foods.

When:Seed and oil will be available in three to five years.

Samples:Available in pail quantities.

Contact: Rick Wilkes, director, Food Application (Richard.S.Wilkes@monsanto.com).

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, Johnston, Iowa, USA

What: Increased oleic acid, reduced polyunsaturates and saturates resulting from silencing genes encoding Δ12-desaturase. All introduced elements are derived from soybean.

How: Genetic modification.

Benefits: "High-oleic soybeans offer nutritional benefits with broader applications than other available soybean oil products," Pioneer spokesperson Julie Kenney says. "They contain more than 75% oleic acid, significantly increasing the stability of the oil. High-oleic soybean oil is a trans fat solution with a 20-25% reduction in saturated fats and more than three times the monounsaturated fat compared to commodity soybean oil," she notes.

When: High-oleic soybeans will be available for planting in 2010, regulatory approval and ongoing field testing pending. They are in the pre-introduction phase of the DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development pipeline. The soybeans are on track for a limited introduction in 2009, regulatory approval and ongoing field testing pending. US regulatory submissions were completed in 2006. The FDA completed its review of high-oleic soybeans earlier in 2009. Pioneer is also seeking regulatory approval in key soybean export markets.

Product High-oleic soybean oil can be used in many of the appli-

summary: cations in which partially hydrogenated oils traditionally have been used, according to Pioneer. The stability of the high-oleic oil makes it suitable for use as a heavy-duty frying medium for industrial and food service operations, and for use as spray oil on crackers, nuts, candies, and baked goods. "It is an extremely flexible base stock that allows processors to blend it with other oils to meet specific end-user specifications. It may also be blended or interesterified with solid fats to meet the requirements of the baking industry," Kenney reports.

Samples: A limited quantity of high-oleic soybean oil is available for industry sampling/testing.

Contact: John Muenzenberger, Pioneer senior marketing manager (john.muenzenberger@pioneer.com).

University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

What: "We have been using chemical mutations, i.e., induced by ethyl methane sulfonate, to develop different oil profiles in soybean such as low linolenic (~2.5%), high linoleic (about 70%), low palmitic (about 3%), high stearic (up to 19%), and combinations thereof," Associate Professor and Soybean Breeder Istvan Rajcan says.

"We have also been developing high-oil soybeans with the aim of producing cultivars with up to 25% oil in the seed. We are at 24% in some of our breeding lines now," Rajcan continued. For the nonoil traits, Rajcan's group has been developing high- and low-isoflavone soybeans, soybeans with enhanced or altered tocopherol (vitamin E) content, and some new protein profiles. All of these were developed through classical genetic approaches using natural variation in the soybean.

How: Conventional breeding for about 70% of the program and genetic modification, primarily glyphosate resistance (Roundup Ready®) for the rest.

Benefits: Zero trans fat for food manufactured with the low-linolenic varieties and a more healthful oil lower in saturated fat for the low-palmitic varieties. The high-tocopherol oil will be a more healthful oil with higher stability. And the high- or low-isoflavone trait will produce a more healthful oil for adults and for infant formula, respectively.

When: Some low-linolenic cultivars are being released now. In addition, several high- and low-isoflavones lines are ready for release, along with some high-tocopherol lines. The low-palmitic lines are still under development and are perhaps five to six years from release. The high-oil lines are more advanced, perhaps three to four years from release.

Samples: Samples of the low-linolenic seed may be available in 2010 upon request. Interested parties should contact Rajcan regarding seed samples for the other traits.

Contact: Istvan Rajcan, associate professor and soybean breeder (irajcan@uoguelph.ca).


Advanta Semillas, Nutrisun Business Unit, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

What: High-stearic, high-oleic sunflower oil (Nutrisun).

How: Conventional breeding (mutagenesis).

Benefits: Alternative to oils higher in trans fat and saturates for almost every food application.

When: Commercial introduction in 2009 in Argentina and Europe.

Samples: Samples are available now.

Contact: Lucas Pan (Lucas.Pan@acvantasemillas.com.ar).

Catherine Watkins is associate editor of inform. She can be reached at cwatkins@aocs.org.