Soybean oil from crops bred using a new isolated germplasm contains high levels of healthy monounsaturates fats, a development that could unseat olive oil as the oil with the best reputation for promoting health.

USA Agricultural Research Service scientists say this germplasm – the starting point for cultivating new soybean lines – contains increased levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat stable enough for use in salad dressings or frying oils without treatment by the hardening process called hydrogenation.

Oil from the germplasm also has less than half the highly unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFAs) of today’s commercial soy oils; PFAs are liquid fats causing undesirable odours and which break down when oxidized by aging or frying.