Skip to comments.Farmers to Expand Soy Use with Edible Crayons
Posted on 08/13/2002 9:19:46 AM PDT by Tancred
Farmers to Expand Soy Use with Edible Crayons Tue Aug 13, 7:53 AM ET
By Eric Onstad
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Your toddlers have just munched and swallowed their crayons. But don't panic, say "bon appetit!" The coloring sticks are made from healthy soybeans.
U.S. farming groups are counting on new products such as edible crayons to eat up a bigger proportion of soybean production and boost prices, which are in danger of sagging as global output rises.
Soybean output in Latin America is due to surge in coming years, but researchers are busy concocting new uses for soybeans, ranging from paint to adhesives in addition to a growing biofuel market, a conference heard Tuesday.
"There is huge soy production and the result is driving the market down," researcher John Cherry of the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) told an edible oils conference in Istanbul.
"There is quite an effort in the U.S. to push soybeans into the non-food market."
Use of soybeans outside of the traditional foods market has grown in recent years to absorb around four percent of the total U.S. crop, up from two to three percent, but industry groups aim to push that up to 15 percent to 20 percent by 2020, Cherry said.
Soybeans are crushed into vegetable oils for cooking, soymeal that is mainly fed to animals and is also processed into protein sources such as vegetarian foods.
Biodiesel fuel, which mainly uses soyoil as a raw material, is already a burgeoning market in the United States, with production jumping from two million liters in 1999 to 95 million liters last year and forecast to increase to 130 million to 140 million this year, the conference heard.
A big selling point for many of the new products is that they are environmentally friendly in contrast to petroleum-based competitors. But they are generally more expensive, appealing to a limited market of green consumers willing to pay a premium.
A much cheaper use for soybeans has been discovered, however, using treated soybean hulls to filter out harmful metals such as cadmium, copper, lead and zinc from water.
A special process using citric acid and heat treatment turns the hulls into a product that outperformed expensive ion exchange resins in recent tests, said another USDA researcher, Wayne Marshall.
The production cost of the treated hulls was $1.17 per kg in contrast to the resins that sell for $5 to $40, he added.
Several companies and groups are interested in exploiting the new technology, including the port district of the U.S. city of Seattle, which wants to remove harmful metals from runoff water before it ends up in a collection lake.
Another group from Iowa State University has developed soy protein-based adhesives, one of which was recently granted a U.S. patent, the conference heard.
Some of the adhesives are used to make composite wood substitutes from fiber including cornstalks, wheat straw and waste from manure and paper manufacturing.
As if changing poopie diapers wasn't fun enough already!!
This takes me back to my own childhood. I could go for a Crayola or two right now.
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