Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 12, 1997

Iowa State technology for sale -- at the grocery store

by Steve Jones

It's an example of university research ending up on the shelf -- of the food store.

A healthier vegetable oil made from a soybean variety developed jointly by Iowa State University and Pioneer Hi- Bred International Inc. soon will be sold by Hy-Vee Food Stores throughout the Midwest.

LoSatSoy is the first low-saturated-fat soybean oil. It has one gram of saturated fat per serving, half the amount of traditional soybean oil and the same amount as canola oil, a low-fat vegetable oil mostly produced in Canada.

LoSatSoy will be test-marketed at Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee stores this fall. Special kick-off events were held at Hy-Vee stores in West Des Moines and Cedar Rapids today (Sept. 12). Plans call for the bottled oil to be on the shelves of all Hy-Vee stores by year's end.

The oil comes from soybean germplasm developed by agronomist Walter Fehr and food scientist Earl Hammond. The ISU Research Foundation licensed the soybean in 1990 to Pioneer Hi-Bred, which has cooperated with the ISU scientists in developing the soybean and marketing it to farmers.

The soybean oil is an Iowa technology transfer success story, said President Martin Jischke.

"The soybean was developed by Iowa State University scientists, marketed by Pioneer and now the oil is sold by Hy-Vee," Jischke said. "It's a wonderful example of taking university research and transferring it to those who will benefit from the new technology. Clearly, this product will help the Iowa economy."

A diet low in saturated fat is recommended by health officials as part of a program to prevent heart disease. Oil produced from the new soybean has less palmitic acid, a kind of fatty acid, than oil produced from standard soybeans. Oil from the new soybean contained as little as 3.5 percent palmitic acid, compared to 10 percent palmitic acid in traditional soybean oil.

Iowa agricultural leaders believe LoSatSoy will compete in food stores with canola oil, popular among consumers because it contains less saturated fat than vegetable oil made from traditional soybeans. In addition, LoSatSoy is made from United States-grown soybeans. Most of the canola oil sold in the United States is imported from Canada.

The new oil retains the benefits of traditional soybean oil, Fehr said.

"The flavor and appearance of LoSatSoy is the same as traditional soybean oil. LoSatSoy can be used in baking, frying, cooking and salads in the same way as traditional soybean oil," Fehr said.

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