COLUMBIA — The Missouri Plant Science Center, along with Soy Labs and Reliv International, Inc., announced its new soy powder, LunaRich, on Tuesday.
LunaRich contains the soy peptide lunasin at levels five to 10 times higher than standard soybeans. Lunasin was discovered in 1996 and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and manage heart health, according to Soy Labs' lunasin website.
A new soybean enhanced with the LunaRich soy powder will be released on Feb. 17 at the Reliv National Conference, said Mark Murphy, director of content management at Reliv, a company that sells and researches soybeans.
No side effects have been found to occur with the consumption of LunaRich, except for in people who are allergic to soybeans, said Ryan Schmidt, executive director of the Missouri Plant Science Center and president of Soy Labs.
LunaRich is safe for daily use, Schmidt said.
LunaRich is the first lunasin innovation from the joint research group, which Schmidt said is built on more than 10 years of research and millions of dollars in investments in lunasin technology.
After screening and testing soybeans, Schmidt said the biggest challenge for the creation of LunaRich was maintaining a high level of lunasin in the beans during the manufacturing process because lunasin levels depend on the soil, seed and environment.
Kristin Bilyeu, a research molecular biologist with the USDA Agriculture Research Service, said soybeans have been an important food supply for humans and livestock.
Soybeans are the main source of vegetable oil and also provide balanced protein in nutritious food products such as tofu and soymilk.
Bilyeu said soybeans are a dependable financial source for farmers because of their high productivity, broad adaptation and large consumption.
According to statistics from soystats.com, in 2010, 35 percent of the world's soybeans were produced in the United States. Missouri ranked seventh in production of soybeans in 2010.