Cooking up new uses for soy

Biodiesel might be upstaging some of soybean oil’s industrial use but the quest continues to find new application for the versatile vegetable oil.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered a new potential use for soy oil in pharmaceutical and and personal care markets. Soy oil-based polymers known as hydrogels have been developed by the USDA chemists as a biodegradable alternative to synthetic polymers such as polyacrylic acid and polyacrylamide.

The soy hydrogels can be used in drug delivery, wound dressings and hair care products.

Last year also saw a lot of new soy-oil based chemicals and products, according to the United Soybean Board. You can also check out information on some of the newly launched soy-based chemical alternatives on USB’s Biobased Newsletters.

Soy oil price might be record-high right now but [so far...] it is not deterring Illinois power company ComEd to use them as transformer oils. The company, which has been using soy oil transformer fluid since 2002, says it will eliminate the need for about 56,000 gallons of petroleum-based mineral oil per year.

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