Study shows rodents don’t favor soy-based plastics over petroleum-based counterparts


Study shows rodents don’t favor soy-based plastics over petroleum-based counterparts

A new study has found that rodents don’t favor soy-based plastics over petroleum-based counterparts.

Ed Lammers, a farmer leader and oil target area coordinator for the United Soybean Board, says the soy checkoff funded the study to see if rodents preferred the taste of soybean oil. 

“There were 12 different types of rubbers and plastics that were exposed to 10 mice for 14 days and there was no significant difference between the soybean oil and the petroleum oil used in these samples,” he says. “Researchers weighed them, took pictures, and it was the same. There was no preference of the soybean oil over the petroleum oil.”

The study was conducted to determine if the inclusion of soybean oil or its derivatives in natural rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber, ethylene-propylene diene monomer, or flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plaque samples affects the extent of gnawing damage by mice.

USB reports that at eight and 15 days, researchers assessed the various plaque samples for gnawing damage both subjectively and by weight. Researchers did note extensive gnawing on two plaque samples—standard PVC and PVC containing U.S. soybean oil. But, the gnawing damage difference between the two was not “statistically significant.” The other 10 types of plastic tested showed that adding soybean oil or its derivatives to the common elastomers tested did not affect rodent gnawing.  

Lammers says, as a soybean farmer, he’s pleased to know there was no major difference in most samples.

“And why that’s important, is that now we can go to our industrial partners and say that’s not really an accurate statement that rodents like soybean oil more than petroleum oil,” he says. “That’s a great thing for US soybean producers that we can continue to use our soybean oil in industrial practices.”  

He says soybean oil is a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to petroleum.

“Soybean oil is used in thousands of different products – cooking, industrial uses, concrete sealants, asphalt, biodiesel, and more,” he says. “It’s really important that we can use a product like soybean oil that is sustainable, renewable, and environmentally friendly. It has some great characteristics and applications and we’re very excited the study demonstrates the rodents weren’t attracted to the soybean oil more than the petroleum oil.”

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