MU creates bean for healthier hearts

BY MATTHEW DIXON

neighborhoods@columbiamissourian.com

An MU research team has developed a new soybean, which could improve the well-being of people everywhere.

From cookies to French fries, soybeans factor into most daily meals. MU researchers have developed a healthier alternative for soybean oil, which could translate into healthier lifestyles for American citizens.

Since the 1970s, scientists have known that saturated fats, which are found in soybean oil, are bad for your heart. Through natural pollination procedures Kristin Bilyeu, a researcher with the USDA Agriculture Research Service, and Grover Shannon, a professor of plant sciences at MU have developed a healthier alternative. The new soybean oil contains oleic acid, a healthier alternative to the current soybean oil made from saturated fat.

“When we started this research, we were looking at three factors” Bilyeu said in an MU news release. “We needed a heart-healthy oil. It needed to be stable with a good shelf life. Finally, it needed to be economically feasible.

Oleic acid doesn’t require hydrogenation, which stabilizes the oil. It is also the main component of olive oil, but not a large component in soybean oil. Bilyeu said she and Shannon attempted to help the soybean produce more oleic acid in the beans.

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