Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. and DuPont Pioneer have successfully grown safflower plants that offer high levels of arachidonic acid (ARA). This is good news for the global food market, since the specialty oil is both a high-value and a nutritional product.
ARA is an omega-6 fatty acid that, along with certain omega-3 fatty acids, plays a critical role in neural and visual development of infants. It is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and neurological health is reliant upon sufficient levels of ARA.
ARA is used as a functional ingredient in many infant nutrition products, and has been shown to provide developmental benefits similar to breastfeeding. Its use in nutritional products has been reviewed and supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. High ARA safflower plants will offer an alternative and more efficient source for the ingredient that will improve manufacturing economics and encourage wider use of ARA.
“The newly developed safflower oil could ultimately provide a renewable and sustainable source of this nutritionally important fatty acid. Since sunlight provides all the energy needed to make ARA in safflower seed oil, this production technique also is very cost-effective when compared with current commercial methods,” said Tony Kinney, research director, DuPont Pioneer.
“The achievement of this milestone further demonstrates Arcadia’s expertise in developing high-value nutritional oils leveraging our omega-6 platform,” said Raj Ketkar, CEO of Arcadia. “The development of ARA safflower oil will expand Arcadia’s nutritional oil offerings and will build on our experience in the development, regulatory management, production and marketing of these high-value products.”
Currently the oil is in the late production stages. Regulatory approval will be sought prior to commercialization.