PEORIA, ILL. — U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have developed a process for making an extract derived from rice bran oil that acts as a partial replacement for margarine, butter or shortening. The extract is free of trans fat, shelf stable and resists oxidation.

The extract somewhat resembles nut butter and consists primarily of unrefined rice bran oil and rice bran’s natural wax. It contains minor amounts of vitamin E, plant sterols and gamma-oryzanol, which has been shown to lower levels of L.D.L “bad” cholesterol.

The U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Research Service studies took place at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria. Researchers used the extract in place of some of the butter in granola and white bread. Information on the studies appeared in the April issue of Agricultural Research magazine.