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Plant Oils

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ARS scientists in Peoria, IL, discovered that the seeds of pennycress, long considered a forgettable weed, possess an oil that may have a wealth of uses — from biofuel to food ingredients. Read more about their pioneering research.

U.S. airlines have committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, spurring demand for renewable jet fuels. ARS scientists in Peoria, IL, identified yeasts that convert agricultural waste into bio-oil, which can easily be converted into biodiesel or renewable jet fuel. Their discovery could both reduce fossil fuel consumption and create additional value from agricultural waste products. Read more about it. 

ARS researchers in Peoria, IL, are creating healthier spreads by replacing saturated fats with plant-based and other natural waxes — sunflower, rice bran, candelilla, and beeswax, among them. These waxes could provide alternatives to the saturated fats that are currently found in plant oils like palm oil and fully hydrogenated vegetable oil. Read more about this work.

ARS scientists in  Beltsville, MD, found that high-oleic soybean oil (HOSBO), an oil with high amounts of monounsaturated fats (the good fats) that is used for baking and frying foods, improves measures of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and other risk factors and biomarkers of coronary heart disease in comparison to other oils. Read more about their work.