The versatility of the soybean

The use of soybeans has exploded in the last two decades. Most people associate food products with soybeans, but the very same properties that make it attractive in edible form makes it very useful in other industries.

Why are soybeans so versatile? The soybean is considered a complete protein that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids required, but can’t be made, by the human body.  In fact, soybeans are the closest vegetable protein to meat.

Soybeans are also used as the foundation for many different types of products – from animal feed, cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, candle wax, protective coatings and even diesel fuel. 

While much of the focus has been on the food industry, soybeans processed for personal care products has increased significantly in recent years. Soy proteins and oils used in lotions and cleansers have helped consumers turn back the hands of time on skin aging, in part, because of their natural antioxidant and moisturizing abilities.

How are soybeans processed? The oil is removed from soybeans after they’ve been cleaned, cracked and dehulled. The soybean oil goes through further processing depending on the end use for the oil, but the main goal is to retain all the beneficial properties of the original soybean. Lecithin is also extracted from the oil and is used as a natural emulsifier and lubricant.

The remaining flakes are toasted and ground to produce soybean meal, soy flour, soy protein concentrate, and soy protein isolate. In addition, the soy hulls removed in the initial press can be processed into fiber for use in breads, cereals and snacks.

~Visit for more information on SoyWorld USA~

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