The high oleic soybean oil trait is being developed by DuPont's subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, as part of a the Bunge-DuPont Biotech Alliance, formed in 2003, with the aim of commercialization of products in the US containing the trait by 2009.
"This is a significant step for DuPont and for food companies looking for further improved oils," said Dean Oestreich, Pioneer president, in a release. "These regulatory submissions keep us on track for commercialization of products beginning in 2009 and allow us to build on the success we've had developing products to meet consumer demand for healthier foods."
The oil will add to an ever-increasing choice for food formulators looking for soybean oils that do not require hydogenation, a process that can prolong shelf-life but also leads to trans fatty acids.
Numerous studies in the literature show that trans fatty acids raise serum levels of LDL-cholesterol, reduce levels of HDL-cholesterol, can promote inflammation, can cause endothelial dysfunction, and influence other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Soybean oil containing low levels of linolenic acid is already available commercially, most notably with Cargill's Vistive oil with a linolenic acid content of three percent, produced from Monsanto's Vistive soybean, and Pioneer's own Treus low linolenic soybean oil. The soybeans are reported to have enjoyed significant success on the back of an industry move to slash the trans fat content of foods.
Indeed, according to market researcher ACNeilson, US sales of products already labeled 'no trans fat' increased 12 percent to $6.4bn for the 52 weeks ended October 2, 2004, compared with the previous 52-week period.
"This important milestone reflects the Bunge DuPont Biotech Alliance commitment to continually research and develop innovative oils for our food customers," said Dick Goodman, senior vice president and general manager, Bunge Oils. "With high oleic soybeans, we can build on the success of our low linolenic soybean program to ensure we provide customers a wide range of trans fat alternatives."
"We are very excited to bring products to market that will help meet the growing demand for healthy oils and provide valuable contracting opportunities for farmers," added Oestreich. "High oleic soybeans will be the next product commercialized from our pipeline full of soybean oil traits."