Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North America

TCI predicts healthy future for high-stearic, high-oleic sunflower oil as it opens new biorefinery

By Elaine Watson, 02-Sep-2011

Related topics: Fats & oils, Suppliers, Trans- and saturated fats

Specialty oilseed firm Technology Crops International (TCI) is looking to boost its presence in the food and dietary supplements markets after opening a state-of-the-art biorefinery on Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The North Carolina-based firm, which hit the headlines last summer with the launch of NutriSun, a high-oleic, high-stearic, zero-trans sunflower oil developed with Advanta, said early trials had proved “very promising”.

However, bosses also see “great growth potential in the health supplement market with borage oil [rich in GLA] and echium oil [rich in stearidonic acid], as well as new omega-3 oils we have under development”, a spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA.

Significant increase in high-oleic, high-stearic sunflower oil use predicted for 2012

She added: “Stability of NutriSun is superior to other oleic oils on the market and it can be used in a wider range of applications due to its stearic acid content and high solids. For the uses we have identified, the oil performs very well. We expect to see a significant increase in oil usage in 2012.

“TCI has an interesting pipeline of new crops and oils that are under evaluation and development. Once we complete all of our pre-market processes, we will look to commercialization.”

New facility gives TCI control over supply chain ‘from soil to oil’

Historically, third party toll processors have processed seeds and refined oils on its behalf, said TCI. The new facility gives it complete control over its supply chain from seed evaluation to delivery of processed oils.

“This is very important to our customers, knowing that only one company controls the entire supply chain from soil to oil.

“All of our oilseeds are mechanically pressed without the use of solvents for extraction of the oils from the seeds. Throughout the refining process, our oils are not exposed to any harsh chemical treatments and any procedures and processing aids used to treat the oil are fully food grade and natural.”

Healthy oils category heats up

NutriSun is one of several ‘healthier’ oils under development as firms compete to improve the health credentials of oils without impacting their functionality.

Developed by conventional hybrid plant breeding methods, it contains high levels of oleic (typically 70%) and stearic (typically 18%) acids, for greater stability and a longer shelf-life without hydrogenation.

'Next generation' oilseed crops featured prominently at the IFT expo in New Orleans this year, where Dow Agrosciences launched an ultra-low sat fat high-oleic sunflower oil, Solae and Monsanto promoted soybean oil rich in SDA, and DuPont and Monsanto unveiled the next generation of high-oleic soybean oils.

TCI, which is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, develops and commercializes a range of high-value oilseed crops from high erucic acid rapeseed oil, to high oleic sunflower oil, cuphea, camelina and echium.