|AgJournal |  Home | New Crops Vault In Value | Feature||May 19, 2013|
New crops vault in value
Sunflower acreage may double by 2001
The new oil is low in saturated fat. It has several times as much oleic acid and less than half as much linoleic acid as traditional sunflower oil. Some studies indicate that a moderately low-fat diet with a high oleic acid content lowers serum cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease. Linoleic acid content, though lower in NuSun oil, is still high enough for desired flavor in fried foods. In sensory panel evaluations, tortilla chips fried in the low-linoleic NuSun oil stayed fresh-tasting longer than chips fried in commercial sunflower oil. NuSun holds up well in frying vats even without hydrogenation, a process normally required to protect oils from flavor deterioration.
NuSun research was supported by the National Sunflower Association (NSA). The NSA has adopted NuSun as a new industry standard.
"NuSun is a standard resulting from an industry-wide effort to change the sunflower crop to better meet the needs of domestic end users," said Kevin Hannigan, Cargill Hybrid Seeds oilseeds product manager. "Sunflower hybrids of the Northern Lites type produce a type of oil that's more useful for frying, has an extended shelf life and meets consumer demand for vegetable oil with an improved fatty-acid profile and taste."
In frying tests conducted by potential user groups, NuSun sunflower oil performed as well as cottonseed oil, a food service industry standard, with a high smoke point and a pleasing flavor and aroma, Hannigan said.
Cargill Hybrid Seeds was among the first companies to introduce NuSun sunflower hybrids. Cargill 290NL was the first hybrid in the new lineup of Northern Lites sunflower hybrids, and has proved competitive with other top hybrids in yield and oil percentage.
In field trials by U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, yields of all NuSun hybrids were equal to traditional sunflower varieties. The new sunflowers could spur a doubling of U.S. oilseed sunflower acreage from its present 2.2 million acres by 2001.
Plant geneticist Jerry Miller and colleagues at the USDA Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, ND, found that a single dominant gene enables NuSun hybrids to produce oil with a 60 to 75 percent oleic acid content.
Last year, sunflower growers received premiums of 60 cents to $1 per hundredweight for NuSun sunflower. The U.S. sunflower industry is highly dependent on a volatile export market, so farmers also are betting that the new oil appeals to health-conscious consumers and captures a bigger share of the more stable domestic market.
For more background on NuSun sunflower, check out the June 1998 edition of Agricultural Research Magazine .
Current prices for conventional and NuSun sunflower can be found at the National Sunflower Association Web site.
Look for additional information about Cargill sunflower hybrids at the Cargill AgHorizons Web site.
May 19, 2013
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