A new variety of peanut, boasting longer shelf life and increased disease resistance, was unveiled by a team of researchers from USDA and Oklahoma State University.

Named OLé, the new peanut variety packs high amounts of a heart-healthy fatty acid called oleic acid. It’s this acid which contributes to the peanuts extended shelf life. Researchers anticipate the peanut will be a hit with farmers and the peanut industry and brings many benefits to consumers.

According to the American Society of Agronomy, high-oleic acid peanuts have been cultivated for a number of years, though recent seed stock contamination has led to a shortage of the Spanish-market type. The high oil content of these peanuts gives them a characteristic nutty flavor and they are used primarily for the manufacturing of peanut candy, salted peanuts and peanut butter.

“The peanut industry [found itself] in urgent need of a replacement high-oleic Spanish cultivar with acceptable seed size, yield and disease resistance package,” said Kelly Chamberlin, USDA researcher and part of the OLé development team. “The OLé peanut was developed to meet this pressing need… Basically what we are doing is changing the chemistry of the seed so the peanuts do not go rancid as rapidly, and that increases the shelf life of the peanut product by up to 10 times.”

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