Soya is an important source
of a group of non-nutrients known as the phytoestrogens; compounds with
structural and functional similarities to the natural oestrogenic hormones
present in the body.
The Soya plant is an erect,
hairy plant from 0.6 to 1.5m (2 to 5 ft) in height, with large trifoliate
leaves, small white or purple flowers, and short pods with one to four
The seeds of the soya plant,
which are almost spherical in shape, are usually light yellow, but some
rare varieties are black, brown or green.
The soybean (U.S.) or soya
bean (UK) (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to Eastern Asia. It
is an annual plant that may vary in growth, habit, and height. It may grow
prostrate, not growing higher than 20 cm (7.8 inches), or even stiffly
erect up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) in height. The pods, stems, and leaves are
covered with fine brown or gray pubescence.
The soybeans are
cracked to remove the hull and rolled into full-fat flakes. The rolling
process disrupts the oil cell, facilitating solvent extraction of the oil.
After the oil has been extracted, the solvent is removed and the flakes
are dried, creating defatted soy flakes. The defatted soy flakes can be
ground to produce soy flour, sized to produce soy grits or texturized to
produce textured vegetable protein (TVP). The defatted flakes can be
further processed to produce soy protein concentrates and isolated soy
Early oil mill processing of
soybeans were typically small scale operations using hydraulic and screw
presses. Gradually, the screw press replaced the less efficient hydraulic
press. Direct solvent extraction, referred to as "full" pressing or
prepress-solvent extraction, can separate oil from soybeans.
Some crushing industries
combine these extraction methods to maximize oil extraction and its
quality. Solvent extraction is the most widely used method for oil
extraction in the Western world. However, mechanical extraction is often
preferred by small extraction plants throughout the world to remove the
of soya flour in three ways, soya milk, soya awara and soya daddawa.
Steaming at 100oC inactivates the anti-nutritional factors in raw soya
flour, thus rendering a maximum protein efficiency ratio.
The hydrolysate (2 h treatment at 80°C and pH 7.4) from
both soybean and lupin flour contained significantly decreased trypsin
inhibitor activity and urease activity, and a reduced phytate content,
which improved the overall protein quality.
The hydrolysis of soybean and lupin (ungerminated or
germinated) powders was carried out using papain enzyme. Optimum
hydrolysis conditions determined for papain using soy bean and lupin
meals as substrates were enzyme: substrate ratio [E/S] = 0.03 g/g, pH
7.4 at 80°C.
A small-scale soybean-processing technology has been
developed that will produce both high-quality edible oil and protein
meal for human consumption. This technology is attractive as an
alternative to solvent extraction processing in India because it could
facilitate the consumption of domestically produced protein-rich soy
products and aid in alleviating the widespread protein malnutrition in
the country. At present a high percentage of India's soy protein is
exported in the form of animal feed and textured vegetable protein.
Soybean oil will compete for a share of the emerging
environmentally sensitive and renewable lubricant markets with other
vegetable oils and with synthetic lubricants.
Domestic livestock and meat production represents
the single largest use of U.S. soybeans and, over the past three
decades, export sales of U.S. meat have been the fastest growing
utilization of U.S. meat. U.S. meat exports have become an important
component of increased demand for U.S. soybeans and present a
significant opportunity for future growth.
Soybean oil is used in the production of alkyd resins, a
primary constituent of oil-based or solvent-borne paints. Over 500
million pounds of alkyd resins are estimated to have been consumed by
the paint industry. Approximately 130 million pounds of soybean oil –
the equivalent of 12.1 million bushels of soybeans – were used to make
these alkyd resins. Soybean oil competes in this market with other oils,
particularly linseed oil and tall oils.
Soybeans are native to southeast Asia, but 45 percent of
the world's soybean area, and 55 percent of production, is in the United
States. The U.S. produced 75 million metric tons of soybeans in 2000, of
which more than one-third was exported. Other leading producers are
Brazil, Argentina, China, and India.
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