Recognizing the value biosynthetic oils could provide to farmers, the environment and the U.S. economy, Monsanto Company and Biosynthetic Technologies LLC announced license and supply agreements that expand the market opportunity for Vistive Gold soybean growers.
This arrangement also includes an equity investment by Monsanto in Biosynthetic Technologies.
The collaboration creates an opportunity for use of Monsanto's Vistive Gold soybean oil in production of biosynthetic lubricant oils. Biosynthetic Technologies, in collaboration with USDA scientists, has developed an entirely new class of bio-based synthetic oils that match or exceed the performance characteristics of the highest quality petroleum-based oils currently used in the automotive and industrial lubricant sectors.
"We have tested numerous feed stocks as part of our ongoing research and discovered excellent results using high-oleic soybean oils, in particular Vistive Gold," said Allen Barbieri, chief executive officer of Biosynthetic Technologies.
"This is an important collaboration as we move forward with our other global partners to launch their first lines of domestically-sourced, renewable biosynthetic lubricants. High-oleic soybean oils are a cost-competitive alternative to many of the feed stocks we've explored, and working with Monsanto is a natural fit, given our shared commitment to sustainability and the potential for this product."
Barbieri noted that Biosynthetic Technologies offers two product lines: LubriGreen Biosynthetic Oils used in the automotive and industrial lubricants sector, and Coco Estolide esters for products used in the personal care and cosmetics sectors. The company is in the final stages of successful fleet testing and certification of LubriGreen biosynthetic motor oils synthesized from high-oleic oils such as Vistive Gold. These LubriGreen base oils are also being used by several major oil companies to formulate and commercialize the first bio-based, biosynthetic motor oils ever sold by these companies.
"I'm very excited about the industrial applications possible with high oleic soybean oil," said John Motter, a Jenera, Ohio, soybean farmer and United Soybean Board Director. "Multiple uses of high oleic oil create greater demand for American soybean farmers and make our products more competitive in the world market. Seed companies are putting the high oleic trait into their best genetics, and these soybeans will yield right up there with anything else farmers are going to grow."
Joe Cornelius, Monsanto's quality trait lead, said company researchers had been aware of BioSynthetic Technologies' technical efforts and were pleased to learn of the success experienced with Vistive Gold high-oleic soybean oil and the additional opportunity this creates for Monsanto's farmer customers.
"As a leader in soybean advancements and champions of innovations that deliver value for farmers, we are proud to work with Biosynthetic Technologies on this new use for soybean oils," Cornelius said.
"This is exciting, cutting-edge science that has such amazing potential, and what's most exciting is that it expands the market opportunity for Vistive Gold growers and is expected to increase demand for high-oleic soybean oil in the United States. We are always looking for new and sustainable opportunities that benefit our farmer customers and consumers, and the collaboration with Biosynthetic Technologies is a great example."
Vistive Gold soybeans were developed to improve soybean oil's oxidative stability and reduced saturated fat. This improved oil provides benefits in both food and industrial applications that are not possible from commodity soybean oil.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Monsanto has made an equity investment of $7 million in Biosynthetic Technologies. Barbieri said this investment by Monsanto, in addition to investments from BP Ventures and other investors, will enable Biosynthetic Technologies to finalize construction of its pilot plant, facilitate continued product development, and support the commercial launch of its products.
The Vistive Gold trait, which farmers are trialling now in advance of an expected 2014 commercial launch, will be available in Monsanto's Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans that offer herbicide resistance with increased yield opportunity.
The USDA deregulated the biotech trait in Vistive Gold soybeans in December 2011, completing the U.S. regulatory process and allowing field testing and seed production to take place within the United States. All field tests and seed production will be conducted under stewardship guidelines until Monsanto has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals in the key soybean export markets.