Soybean Innovations

From the plow to pasteurization to GPS-enabled tractors, innovation has long been at the forefront of agriculture, and enables growers to provide sustainable products with improved nutrition and enhanced performance. Biotechnology, the latest innovation in the agriculture industry, allows the transfer of one or a few specific gene sequences within an organism or closely related organisms. This results in plants with more favorable characteristics.

A Soybean Farmer's Story: Agriculture Embraces Technology

United Soybean Board Farmer-Director, Nancy Kavazanjian, explains the importance of farming and the use of biotechnology to enhance crop performance.

U.S. Soy invests in the development of soybean varieties with end-user-desired traits, creating increased value and market opportunities for the entire U.S. Soy supply chain. The first product in the development pipeline was high oleic soybean oil, which is now commercially available, and more traits are on the horizon.

High Oleic Soybean Oil

U.S. grown high oleic soybean oil and other trait-enhanced soybean products are largely created through biotechnology. Currently, high oleic soybeans are commercially available through two companies – Plenish® from DowDuPont and Vistive Gold® from Bayer.

Vistive Gold and Plenish high oleic soybeans have full global approval for trade and are available commercially. Both brands offer improved nutritional profile and functionality benefits.

The soybean industry understands that the food industry’s number one priority is supplying food products that are safe. When it comes to foods developed through modern biotechnology, such as high oleic soybean oil, the use of biotechnology-enhanced ingredients are safe for the people and planet, and offer many benefits.

Many organizations endorse the responsible use of biotechnology to enhance food production:

  • World Health
  • Food and Agriculture
    of the United Nations
  • U.S. National Academy
    of Sciences
  • American Medical
  • U.S. Food and
    Drug Administration
  • Academy of
    Nutrition and Dietetics
  • The History of Genetic Engineering of Crops

    Increased Omega-3 Soybean Oil

    Researchers are developing soybeans with increased level of stearidonic acid (SDA) omega-3s. The goal is to produce neutral-flavored soybean oil with 18 to 20 percent SDA. Omega-3 fatty acids are both essential and beneficial for human health, but cannot be manufactured by the body – they must be obtained from food.

    The SDA omega-3 soybean oil will provide the food industry with a functional ingredient that can be added to a variety of foods, such as soups, sauces, beverages, yogurts and breads.

    The SDA omega-3 variety of soybeans will result in an affordable, land-based, renewable source of omega-3s.

    In 2009, the FDA confirmed SDA omega-3 soybean oil’s Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for use in foods and beverages. SDA omega-3 soybean oil is still in development, but samples are available upon request.

    Trait-Enhanced Soybean Meal

    Additional new trait-enhanced soybean varieties will provide soybean meal with an improved nutritional bundle, advancing soybean meal’s competitive position in animal feeds.

    New soybean meal varieties will increase soybeans’ value and market opportunity for seed companies, growers, grain elevators and suppliers.

    U.S Soy is currently collaborating with the industry to develop two trait-enhanced meal varieties, Enhanced Nutritional Energy Soybeans (ENE) and Reduced Carbohydrate Soybeans (RCS). These two varieties feature an increase in the concentration of essential amino acids and nutritional energy, resulting in meal with improved nutritional content for poultry, swine and other species. ENE are expected to be commercialized by 2023 and RCS are expected to be commercialized by 2030.