Archer Daniels Midland Company has announced details of a joint venture with the Kao Corporation of Japan to manufacture diacylglycerol oil and market the product in Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Diacylglycerol, referred to as "DAG oil", was developed by the Kao Corporation and is already very popular in Japan as an aid in controlling body fat content.

The new joint venture, to be called ADM Kao LLC, will have its head office in Decatur, Illinois, USA. Plans for the manufacture of "DAG oil" will begin with the construction of a pilot plant at the ADM production site in Decatur, which is scheduled to be operational by November 2001. 

Diacylglycerol is a naturally occurring minor component of culinary vegetable oils. The Kao "DAG oil" product is made using a patented process that concentrates the daicylglycerols that are present in these types of oils. Research suggests that diacylglycerols are metabolised differently to other types of oil: instead of being stored as body fat, it is believed that they are preferentially burned as an energy source.

Other studies conducted in Japan and in the USA have shown levels of triglycerides in the blood stream of participants measured after consuming a meal containing "DAG oil" to be as much as 50% lower than in controls who consumed a nutritionally equivalent meal but without the "DAG oil".

Research designed to look at body fat levels has also shown that "DAG oil" may help in reducing the amount of stored body fat when used as an alternative to regular oils. 

"DAG oil" was introduced into Japan in 1999 under the brand name Healthy Econa Oil®, and since then has become the best-selling premium vegetable oil on the Japanese market. In addition to the stated health benefits, its success has also been driven by its pale colour and light-tasting flavour profile, which imparts no extraneous flavour or 'oily taste' to foods.

"DAG oil" has been designated GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) in the US by an external panel of scientific experts for use in vegetable oil spreads and as a home cooking oil.  The GRAS recommendations have since been reviewed and accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).   In Japan, DAG oil has been granted FOSHU status on the basis of scientific research that demonstrates its potential to provide health benefits with regular use. The joint venture plans to conduct additional clinical studies in the US and in other countries. 

"DAG oil" is a highly versatile, naturally-derived vegetable oil, which has the potential to be used as a home cooking oil or as an ingredient in prepared foods such as frozen dinners, biscuits, vegetable oil spreads, snacks and salad dressings.

Editor's note

ADM: ADM is a world leader in agricultural processing and the world's largest processor of soya beans, maize, wheat and cocoa. With a strong commitment to nutraceuticals, ADM is dedicated to developing healthful food ingredients from a wide range of natural sources.

Kao: With more than 110 years in business, Kao has earned a reputation as a quality manufacturer in Japan, where it is the number one consumer products company. Its strength in innovative product development is represented by brands such as Biore, Attack and Laurier.  Kao has more than 22,000 employees worldwide and net sales of approximately $7.9 billion.