A couple of common office tools could soon use soybeans as one of their main ingredients. Researchers are developing soy-based ink to fill ballpoint pens, and the toner cartridges used in printers and fax machines. Jo Patterson is a spokesperson with the National Soy Ink Information Center in Urbandale. She says the success of soy ink in the printing industry has spurred the research.Patterson says 103-million pounds of soybeans are used each year for ink. She says soy ink pens would require about one million pounds of soybeans.She says it’s not a tremendous amount, but when combined with other new uses for soy ink, it helps increase overall soybean usage. Patterson says soy ink-fueled pens though, could write an important chapter in the use of soybeans, as they would give the soy ink a high-profile use.Patterson says printer cartridges and pens are just a few of the uses being tested for soy ink, others include ultraviolet ink and fast drying ink.Patterson says the research is all funded by soybean check-off dollars.
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