Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



2014 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

doi: 10.1111/pbi.12209


Plant Biotechnology Journal (2014) 12, pp. 1035–1043


Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) is valued for both its protein and oil, whose seed is composed of 40% and 20% of each component, respectively. Given its high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, soybean oil oxidative stability is relatively poor. Historically food processors have employed a partial hydrogenation process to soybean oil as a means to improve both the oxidative stability and functionality in end-use applications. However, the hydrogenation process leads to the formation of trans-fats, which are associated with negative cardiovascular health. As a means to circumvent the need for the hydrogenation process, genetic approaches are being pursued to improve oil quality in oilseeds. In this regard, we report here on the introduction of the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) stearoyl-ACP thioesterase into soybean and the subsequent stacking with an event that is dual-silenced in palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase and Δ12 fatty acid desaturase expression in a seed-specific fashion. Phenotypic analyses on transgenic soybean expressing the mangosteen stearoyl-ACP thioesterase revealed increases in seed stearic acid levels up to 17%. The subsequent stacked with a soybean event silenced in both palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase and Δ12 fatty acid desaturase activity, resulted in a seed lipid phenotype of approximately 11%–19% stearate and approximately 70% oleate. The oil profile created by the stack was maintained for four generations under greenhouse conditions and a fifth generation under a field environment. However, in generation six and seven under field conditions, the oleate levels decreased to 30%–40%, while the stearic level remained elevated.