Future Soybean Traits

QUALISOY promotes new and improved trait-enhanced soybean oils that benefit the entire soybean value chain. High oleic soybean oil is available now, and additional trait-enhanced soybean oils are on the horizon.

oybean Trait Enhancement Pipeline_v2

Increased Omega-3 Soybean Oil

The first increased omega-3 soybean is in development. 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 long chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found primarily in fatty fish and marine sources, are most readily used by the body. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omega-3 found in soybean oil, is the principle source of omega-3 in the U.S. diet.1 However, ALA is not efficiently converted to EPA and DHA in the body. The increased omega-3 soybean is rich in stearidonic acid (SDA) omega-3 fatty acids. SDA omega-3s are more efficiently converted by the body into EPA, so increased-omega-3 soybeans are a land-based source of the beneficial fatty acids found in fish.

Increased omega-3 soybeans are a land-based source of the beneficial fatty acids found in fish.

The FDA approved the use of omega-3 soybean oil with SDA for use in food and beverages. Farmers will begin production of SDA omega-3 soybeans pending the approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and the potential to protect from risk of chronic diseases.2 Omega-3s are considered crucial for human health.


Omega-3 soybean oil applications:

  • Yogurts
  • Salad dressings
  • Prepared foods and baked goods
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Nut products
  • Soups
458px X 258px LiquidOil 150885

Increased omega-3 oil highlights:

  • Companies developing these soybean varieties aim for an omega-3 content of 18 to 20 percent
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory effects that guard against coronary heart disease and autoimmune diseases2
  • SDA-rich soybean oil is an effective and environmentally sustainable approach to increasing heart-healthy levels of EPA in the body3,4
458px X 258px Oil 1271


1) PM Kris-Etherton, Denise Shaffer Taylor, et al. "Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States." AM J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan; 71(1) 1: 179S-188S.

2) "Omega-3 fatty acids." http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids#ixzz2dygJvVyU. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2013.

Burdge G. "Alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications." Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004;7(2):137-144.

4) Pawlosky RJ, Hibbeln JR, Novotny JA, Salem N. "Physiological compartmental analysis of alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans." J Lipid Res. 2001;42(8):1257-65.