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CALGENE RESPONDS TO REPORTS OF MARGARINE HEALTH CONCERNS; FIELD TRIALS IN PROGRESS

 CALGENE RESPONDS TO REPORTS OF MARGARINE HEALTH CONCERNS;
 FIELD TRIALS IN PROGRESS
 DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to reports yesterday of a study conducted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture detailing the adverse health effects of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, Calgene Inc. (NASDQ: CGNE) today reported it has genetically modified the canola plant to produce a healthier alternative to these chemically processed oils.
 Margarines are currently manufactured from vegetable oils that have been chemically processed by hydrogenation to increase the level of saturated fatty acids in the oil in order to provide margarine its texture and consistency. Hydrogenation also increases the level of trans fatty acids, which raise cholesterol levels according to the study conducted for the USDA, which confirmed an earlier study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1990. Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an expert on coronary risks of dietary fats speaking to the New York Times stated, "Evidence is growing that trans fatty acids raise cholesterol levels just like saturated fatty acids. We should try to reduce the amount of trans fatty acids in foods."
 Calgene aims to do just that. Using its patented antisense technology and proprietary desaturase genes, the company has engineered canola varieties that exhibit the characteristics of hydrogenated oils without the need for chemical processing. This will reduce the cost and eliminate trans fatty acids inherent in the chemical process. "We expect our new non-hydrogenated canola oil to be an important new product for any consumer concerned about the role of trans fatty acids in cholesterol formation," said Dr. Vic Knauf, vice president of research for Calgene. "Based on our results to date, we expect to begin producing these oils in the mid 1990s. Worldwide, volumes could eventually be in the hundreds of millions of pounds."
 Calgene has been working on developing its proprietary margarine oils for several years. These oils have been modified to contain the saturated fat levels necessary for margarine without any of the trans fatty acids found in chemically hydrogenated vegetable oils. In the fall of last year, Calgene planted its first field trials of canola plants which were genetically modified to produce this oil. These were the world's first field trials containing plants genetically engineered to produce a modified vegetable oil. A second generation of such trials was recently harvested and further large-scale plantings will take place later this month.
 Calgene is an agribusiness biotechnology company that is developing improved plant varieties and plant products for the seed, food and specialty chemical industries. The company has four operating subsidiaries: Ameri-Can Pedigreed Seed Company, Calgene Chemical, Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company and Calgene Fresh Inc.
 -0- 10/8/92
 /CONTACT: Andrew Baum or Carolyn Hayworth of Calgene, 916-753-6313/
 (CGNE) CO: Calgene ST: California IN: SU:


SG-TM -- SF007 -- 7897 10/08/92 13:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 8, 1992
Words:483
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