Monsanto, Solae agree on soybean, omega-3 research

by Jeff Gelski
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ST. LOUIS — Monsanto and The Solae Co. have agreed to develop and market products fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.

"There is a need to develop new solutions for delivering omega-3 fatty acids in a wider variety of consumer products," said Tony Arnold, president and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Solae. "Our goal is to accelerate the creation of a convenient, affordable and sustainable source of omega-3 ingredients."

The collaboration brings together research that Monsanto, Solae and DuPont, a majority owner of The Solae Co., have conducted independently on soybeans containing higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their health benefits, including cardiovascular health. Solae also has worked on stabilizing oil for food applications.

"Soybeans represent a renewable, land-based source of omega-3s," said Jerry Steiner, executive vice-president of Monsanto, also based in St. Louis. "We believe this collaboration will allow us to bring to market a variety of sustainable omega-3 ingredients that will nutritionally enhance foods that consumers already enjoy. We’re excited about the possibilities."

Soybean oil currently offers a ratio of about 1:7.5 in omega-3 fatty acids:omega-6 fatty acids, according to Qualisoy, a collaborative effort in the soybean industry to help market the development and availability of healthier soybeans and soy oil.

Soybeans currently do not compare to the omega-3 fatty acid content of flax and walnuts. One cup of flax seed contains 74 grams of total fat, including 41 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, according to the Flax Council of Canada, Winnipeg, Man. One tablespoon of flax oil contains 14 grams of fat, including 8 grams of ALA.

One ounce of walnuts contains more than 2.5 grams of ALA, according to the Walnut Marketing Board, Sacramento, Calif. Other nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans have less than 0.5 grams of ALA per ounce.

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