ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Vistive Gold soybean oil and SDA Omega 3 soybean oil are healthy oils that will come from soybeans that farmers will be growing in large volume in the near future, suggests Monsanto. These soybeans for producing healthy oils have been promoted as coming for the last few years, and they are finally in the last stages of approvals for wide-spread production.

It is important to increase the value and health properties of soybean oil with Stearidonic Acid (SDA) Omega 3 oil and Vistive Gold low-saturated fat, high-oleic trait oil, Monsanto contends. One allows for food sources with Omega 3 long-chain heart-healthy properties; the only other sources of similar Omega 3 are supplement sources, mainly fish oil. As for Vistive Gold oil, it has 60 percent lower saturated fat and increased levels of monosaturated fat than conventional food-use soybean oil, plus zero trans fat.

Biotechnology and breeding has the company producing seed varieties for “an almost perfect oil,” said Roy Fuchs, Monsanto, global oilseeds technology lead, in describing Vistive Gold oil. He said food industry evaluation of all the oils on the market shows Vistive Gold has the oil profile of choice. It has received necessary approvals in the U.S. from the USDA and Food and Drug Administration, and some U.S. food companies are evaluating it. Monsanto expects to have global approval for export of the soybeans to key soybean customers and, therefore, a full launch in 2014.

“We are launching it (Vistive Gold trait) on top of our Roundup Ready 2 Yield platform, and we will also be bringing in the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend for a triple stack in the future,” Fuchs said.

“This oil is ideally suited for the food industry, but it is also ideally suited for industrial use, and we are finding more and more applications on the industrial side where people want to move away from petroleum-based products to biodegradable products. We are finding that this oil has superior properties particularly because of the low saturated fat which allows much better flow properties than typical soybean oil. So, a lot of opportunities exist for Vistive Gold,” the technology lead said.

Monsanto will be initially emphasizing production of Vistive Gold soybeans in three states where certain soybean varieties perform best. “We’ve developed an enterprise zone that will include Ohio, Indiana and Illinois,” Fuchs said. “Since it is an oil product, there is some physiological interaction with the environment, and this is where we have the best producing lines today. We expect it will be expanded, but these are the three states we are focused on to build a market.”

The SDA soybeans for long-chain SDA Omega-3 oil with heart-healthy property are at a point of anticipated USDA approval for production in the U.S. and then will need to be accepted for import by key global soybean customers. The FDA also needs to provide its last food safety declaration.   

Monsanto has developed a biotech soybean that has 20 percent of this Omega 3 oil in it. “The oil can be processed like any other soybean oil; therefore, it is not expensive. And it can be incorporated directly into food. It tastes just like other soybean oil; so, there is no off flavor to it, but it has the health benefits of Omega 3,” said Fuchs.

The concept is for people to consume three foods a day that have this Omega 3 oil in them in order to consume the recommended daily intake of Omega 3. Food testing has proven the specialty oil can be put in and on any oil-based food; it works in dairy products, snack foods, beverages, baked foods, prepared foods and in general has very broad applications.

Fuchs said as important as anything for consumers to accept using the oil is how it rates in sensory evaluations, and it has received “very high” positive ratings by consumers. High acceptance by consumers means high volume of the specialty soybeans being grown from Monsanto seed.