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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING STABILITY AND HEALTHFULNESS OF U.S. COMMODITY VEGETABLE OILS AND PRODUCTS

Location: Functional Foods Research Unit

Project Number: 3620-44000-050-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 02, 2010
End Date: Jun 01, 2015

Objective:
The overall objective of the project is to improve the stability and functionality of commodity vegetable oils so they can be used as alternatives to hydrogenated oils and imported tropical fats for frying and for margarines and shortenings. To achieve this goal, we will investigate the effects of several types of phytochemicals in frying oils and will explore methods to produce healthful margarines and shortenings with low or no trans fatty acids and low saturated fats. The research will focus more specifically on the following objectives: Objective 1: Develop commercially viable methods that utilize tocopherols, phytosterols and phytosteryl ferulates to synergistically improve the oxidative stability of frying oils and fried foods; Objective 2: Develop commercially viable methods that utilize naturally-derived antioxidants and anti-polymerization compounds to improve the stability of frying oils; Objective 3: Develop commercially viable methods that utilize specialty vegetable oils to enhance the nutritional properties and oxidative stability of commodity oils; Objective 4: Develop commercially viable processing technologies to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acid content in margarines, spreads, and shortenings.

Approach:
Food manufacturers, restaurants, and bakeries that need stable oils for frying and/or oils with the appropriate functionality for shortenings are looking for alternatives to hydrogenated oils because of trans fatty acids hydrogenated oils contain. However, commodity oils such as soybean, sunflower and corn that are processed without hydrogenation are not stable enough for frying oils nor do they have the proper functionality for margarines and shortenings. Even most oils with fatty acid compositions modified to increase oleic and/or to decrease linoleic or linolenic acids are still not as stable for frying as hydrogenated oils. This project proposes to improve the stability and functionality of commodity vegetable oils so they can be used as alternatives to hydrogenated oils and imported tropical fats for frying and margarines/shortenings. To help solve the problems of frying oil stability, we will: 1) Develop commercially viable methods that utilize tocopherols, phytosterols and phytosteryl ferulates to synergistically improve the oxidative stability of frying oils and fried foods; 2) Develop commercially viable methods that utilize naturally-derived antioxidants and anti-polymerization compounds to improve the stability of frying oils; and 3) Develop commercially viable methods that utilize specialty vegetable oils to enhance the nutritional properties and oxidative stability of commodity oils. To help solve functionality problems for margarines and shortenings, we will develop commercially viable processing technologies to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acid content in margarines and shortenings. Based on the results of our research, we will make recommendations to food manufacturers, oil processors and plant geneticists for developing oils with enhanced stability, functionality and healthfulness.

Last Modified: 9/3/2014
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