- By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
Calyxt Secures Processing Agreement for First Gene Edited Soybean Oil
Minnesota-based self-described “consumer-centric, food and agriculture-focused” biotech company Calyxt announced it has secured an agreement with American Natural Processors (ANP) to crush Calyxt’s gene-edited high-oleic soybean variety for the production of the company’s high oleic soybean oil.
Calyxt is a company with a mission to use technology to develop crop traits that produce healthier food ingredients. Through its work, Calyxt aims to create varieties of soybeans, wheat, canola, alfalfa, and potatoes that have the ability to improve consumer health, reduce pesticide usage, increase crop disease tolerance, and mitigate the environmental impact of production.
“We consider ourselves to be stewards of the land, producing foods that are not only nutritionally rich and cost-effective but also sustainable and environmentally friendly,” said Manoj Sahoo, chief commercial officer, Calyxt. “After receiving strong interest from farmers and food companies for our first product candidate, we are excited to work with a crusher that shares our objective to impeccable product quality for consumers.”
Calyxt’s high-oleic soybean variety has been developed using a genome engineering technique called TALEN® - a best-in-class genome engineering platform that enables the binding and cleaving of pre-selected sequences of DNA. Using TALEN®, which can work like “molecular scissors”, Calyxt’s technology does not introduce foreign DNA into the selected crop variety, leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to confirm in 2015 that the company’s high-oleic soybeans are non-GMO and non-regulated.
Aligning with the REPLACE initiative launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May of this year aiming to eliminate trans fats in foods by 2023, Calyxt’s soybeans eliminate the need for hydrogenation - a process needed by conventional soybean oils to improve heat stability and shelf life, and one which contributes to trans fatty acid content, rising cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease.
Located in Cherokee, Iowa, ANP has been in business for nearly two decades, operating mostly non-GMO soybean processing plants, producing oils, flours, and meals for some of the largest consumer packing companies in the U.S.
“With this collaboration, Calyxt has taken an important step toward the commercialization of our high-oleic soybean oil by contracting with a processor with a strong track record of food quality and safety, and that is committed to the non-gmo and organic industries,” said Sahoo.
With this agreement in place, Clayxt expects its first gene edited high-oleic soybean oil to reach the market by the end of this year, or early 2019.