Perdue backs technology designed to boost oil and protein content of soybeans without risking yield

ZeaKal tweaks genetic crop traits​​ to improve their rates of photosynthesis. In soybeans, it claims its PhotoSeed technology has consistently resulted in improved oil and protein content while improving the sustainability index of the crop.

The San Diego based biotech reported that, during the 2021 growing season, PhotoSeed soybean events increased oil composition by 12% while increasing protein by one point.

Boost for poultry feed

For Perdue, with its grain and oilseed processing business and poultry production arm, under the Perdue Foods entity, elevating the oil and protein content of soybeans is mission critical. 

Perdue AgriBusiness handles about three million acres’ worth of soybeans per year. Transforming this acreage to PhotoSeed soy, it said, means growers will benefit from a higher value crop and Perdue gains access to beans with improved oil and higher protein in the resulting meal.

“As we evaluated our supply chain, it became clear that moving upstream to access better seed genetics could improve value and sustainability in ways other solutions simply could not. As PhotoSeed soy develops, we expect it will be transformative for Perdue across soy processing and specialty oils, while improving the quality of feed,”​ said Perry Aulie, senior VP of value-added products, Perdue AgriBusiness.

Yield at the expense of nutritional value

Traditionally, increasing oil or protein meant sacrificing the other or reducing yield. This is because soy oil and protein historically have an inverse relationship: if oil increases by 1%, protein drops by 2% and composition improvements typically have a yield penalty.  

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