MON 87705 was designed for as a replacement for hydrogenated oils and fats, which are high in trans-fatty acids. The decreased linolenic content allows MON 87705 to have favorable characteristics for deep frying and increasing the shelf life of foods.
Engineered to reduce linolenic acid content, MON 87705 suppresses FATB and FAD2, endogenous genes and encoding enzymes that play a role in the biosynthesis of fatty acids. This alteration more than triples oleic acid content, raising it from approximately 20% to 70% of all fatty acids, and reduces the levels of linoleic acid, stearic acid and palmitic acid present in seeds.
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As with other glyphosate-resistant crops, it is believed that MON 87705 can yield up to US$0.60 per bushel more than conventional soybeans.
According to Joe Cornelius, Executive Director of Research and Development at Monsanto, MON 87705 has the potential to "make a real difference in efforts to produce healthier foods", for example, by reducing the saturated fat content by more than 60%. “With the availability of Vistive Gold soybeans, farmers will soon be able to deliver an economical and sustainable source of nutritionally improved soybean oil to consumers and food companies, Vistive Gold soybeans are a breakthrough innovation that represent years of collaboration across the food supply chain. Monsanto worked closely with the food industry, health and nutrition communities and agricultural sector to bring a biotechnology trait with direct consumer benefit. The result, Vistive Gold, is one step closer to reality with the recent USDA deregulation.”
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans calls for the reduction of solid fat, including saturated fat and trans fat, in the diet. Vistive Gold soybean oil will provide food companies an option to further reduce saturated fat and maintain zero trans fat in a range of food products. Vistive Gold soybean oil has 60 percent less saturated fat with significantly increased monounsaturated fat, which leads to substantially improved oil stability, compared with conventional soybean oil. Because of the increased stability, Vistive Gold soybean oil does not have to be hydrogenated, and, therefore, does not contain trans fat.
“Consumers want to reduce saturated and trans fats in their diets, but they find it challenging to abandon favorite fried and baked foods,” said Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD, President, Nutrition Edge Communications. “Vistive Gold soybean oil, high in monounsaturated fat--which is recommended as a replacement for solid fat--offers nutritional benefits while allowing consumers to enjoy the foods they love.”
Researchers at GenØk and the University of Canterbury concluded in a collaborative report submitted to the Norwegian government that there were "a number of methodological and conceptual weaknesses contained in the [MON 87705] dossier".
The study outlined concerns that "[t]he rates, types and pathways of exposure to MON 87705 have not been sufficiently characterized" by Monsanto, which it also said had not presented a "convincing case for having either identified or analyzed off-target effects of the novel dsRNAs expressed in soybean MON 87705, or other unintended metabolic changes". The researchers found it significant that Monsanto "excluded the production of novel small peptides being produced by regular but low level expression of intended dsRNAs," and that it had "only argued that they do not exist", which was described as lacking a basis in science. "The molecular characterization is unsatisfactory for concluding that there are no novel protein-based hazards", said the researchers.
Further, they found that Monsanto had not "addressed several important health issues or substantiated its claims of benefits to be derived from use of MON 87705, including the combinatorial (in food) or cumulative (in environment) effects of both high oleic acid levels and unintended increases and decreases in other fatty acids", which was additionally noted as having potential implications for individuals affected by acute respiratory distress syndrome, which can be exacerbated by elevated fatty acid levels or irritation from inhalation.
The researchers also derided Monsanto because "[t]he standards used for equivalence testing of surrogate proteins in the assessment lack substantive rigor to draw relevant conclusions" and for allegedly employing "methods and study designs [that], in our view, bias against identification of differences".
- "Monsanto's Vistive Gold Soybeans". Monsanto. YouTube. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Docket No. APHIS-2011-0046". Federal Register 76 (124): 37771–37772. 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Gelski, Jeff (2011-09-01). "Group supports deregulation of soybean component". FoodBusinessNews.net. Retrieved 2011-09-21. "The Iowa Soybean Association supports the full deregulation of MON 87705, a key component of Vistive Gold soybeans that produce a high-oleic, low-saturate, low-trans fat soybean oil."
- "MON 87705 - GM Approval Database". International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- Crumb, Michael (2011-08-31). "Monsanto seeks OK for low-fat soybean". The Associated Press (Bloomberg Businessweek). Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Heinmann, Jack; Kurenbach, Brigitta; Quist, David (September 2010), "Assessment of the technical dossier related to EFSA/GMO/NL/2010/78", Centre for Biosafety – GenØk, Center for Integrated Research in Biosafety (Tromsø)