Innovative oil may create healthier chips

by Editorial Staff
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Scientists at the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture have produced soy oil rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). According to studies, CLA may give the immune system a boost and help reduce the risks of cancer and diabetes. The oil may be used to produce potato chips that are healthier because they contain high concentrations of CLA, said Andrew Proctor, professor of food science.

"Our goal is to develop a popular food item that offers high concentrations of CLA without increasing saturated fat intake," Mr. Proctor said. "Potato chips suit this purpose well. Subsequent studies may include development of high-CLA salad oils and dressings."

The process uses refined soy oil and no hydrogenated oils. Scientists experimented with an instrument that exposes oil to ultraviolet light more evenly and produces higher CLA content of soybean oil. The photo-irradiated oil contains 25% CLA. Beef and dairy products naturally contain less than 1% CLA.

Mr. Proctor received a $275,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to build a pilot plant that will process a greater volume of oil in less time.

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