Project Details:

Evaluation and Commercialization of SOYLEIC Varieties in Illinois

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Illinois Soybean Association
Categories:Seed composition, Soybean Variety Trials, Agronomy
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2022
Lead Principal Investigator:Brian Diers (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Co-Principal Investigators:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

This project is focused on the development of high oleic, low linolenic (HOLL) soybean varieties that will be marketed under the SOYLEIC™ name. This is a source of high-quality soybean oil that can be used to win back the market share of soybean in the food industry and increase its industrial uses.

Project Objectives

The goal of this research is to test and commercialize soybean varieties with improved seed oil quality to give growers new opportunities for producing soybean with a value-added trait and to increase demand for soybean oil. The varieties we are developing have improved oil quality with greater than 80% oleic acid and less than 3% linolenic acid (high oleic and low linolenic or HOLL), which is achieved through combining two mutagenized and two naturally occurring genes which makes this a non-GMO source of HOLL oil. This allows us to market non-GMO HOLL varieties, which will result in increased premiums, and makes it easy to combine HOLL oil with new GMO technology, which would require a lengthy and expensive approval process if HOLL oil was a GMO trait. The genes we are using to develop varieties with the HOLL oil are being licensed from the University of Missouri and are being promoted by USB and the Missouri Merchandising Council (MMC) under the name SOYLEIC™.

SOYLEIC soybean varieties provide the food market with a high-value, market-driven functional soybean oil, offering a solution to recent food labeling rules set in motion by health concerns with trans-fats. Federal regulations concerning trans fats have devalued commodity soybean oil and decreased or eliminated soybean oil in many food products. Figure 1 shows the decline in soybean oil and the increase in oils from other sources used in foods in the US which resulted from this labeling. The use of soybean oil in soy diesel has helped offset some of these losses, but Illinois farmers need to regain market share lost to canola and palm oil and the improved functionality of SOYLEIC oil can help them do this. SOYLEIC oil has been shown to exceed the quality of current high oleic oil on the market.

The increased stability of SOYLEIC oil also opens new industrial/non-food markets for soybean oil (Figure 2). The use of HOLL soybean oil as a base in motor oils has proven advantages. There is better viscosity and lower volatility than the synthetic counterparts, resulting in better performance in high temperature applications in addition to improved fuel efficiency. Lubricants made with HOLL soybean oils offer natural detergency, which leaves engines cleaner and reduces deposits on metal surfaces. As a renewable, biobased alternative to petroleum-based products, HOLL soybean oil’s increased heat and oxidative stability and its environmental stewardship allows it to be used in marine oils, hydraulic fluids, tire formulations and to produce an improved and lower cost binding polymer for asphalt with an increased regrind rate. The higher oleic fatty acid content also provides better uniformity and reduced separation costs when used as a base stock for the oleochemical industry.

Many opportunities are developing for the marketing of SOYLEIC soybean varieties in Illinois. There are vertically integrated soy processor/refiners who are marketing both high oleic soybean oil and non-GMO soybean meal products for both feed and food uses and SOYLEIC offers the potential to fully maximize supply chains for both of these needs. The state also plays a significant role in the contract production of non-GMO commodity and food-grade soybeans that are exported to key Northeast and Southeast Asian markets. These regions are showing increased interest in SOYLEIC soybeans, both for the improved oil functionality and potentially for improved benefits in the production of traditional Asian soyfoods that use whole soybeans (tofu, tempeh, soymilk). There are at least three Illinois crushers that are currently in talks with the SOYLEIC team about contracting production starting in 2022 but they need varieties for this production to occur.

Project Deliverables

We will identify and release Illinois adapted SOYLEIC varieties. There are a number of crushers in Illinois that are in discussion with the SOYLEIC group about contracting production in the state, but there is a need for more varieties that are adapted to Illinois before production can take off.

We plan to release about five SOYLEIC varieties in 2021 (depending on 2021 results) and our breeding pipeline is full of new experimental lines. With the expanded testing of experimental lines that will be possible with funding from ISA, we will plan to continue to release at least 2-4 new MG II-IV SOYLEIC varieties annually from 2022 on into the future. The funding from ISA will be critical in expanding our testing of experimental lines which will increase our ability to identify the highest yielding lines in the breeding pipeline. We anticipate that there will be 100,000 units of seed of SOYLEIC varieties available for sale in 2023 and for this to double in 2024 and greatly expand after that. Assuming high yielding Illinois adapted varieties are available, we expect a significant amount of this production will be in our state which will provide expanded opportunities for Illinois producers to grow value added soybean and increase the demand for our crop.

Progress of Work

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Success of SOYLEIC program in Illinois will give our farmers opportunities to increase the value of their crop.

Performance Metrics

The project will show its success through the release and production of SOYLEIC varieties developed by the program.

Project Years