Login to join this community. Contribute and stay updated! Login to join this community

The soybean (US) or soya bean (UK) (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. The plant is classified as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Soya beans are a globally important crop, providing both oil and protein. Soybean products appear in a large variety of processed foods. Cultivation is successful in climates with hot summers, with optimum growing conditions in mean temperatures of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F). They can grow in a wide range of soils, with optimum growth in moist alluvial soils with a good organic content. Soya beans, like most legumes, perform nitrogen fixation.

The U.S., Argentina, Brazil, China and India are the world's largest soybean producers and between them represent more than 90% of global soybean production. American soil scientist Andrew McClung, who first showed that the ecologically biodiverse savannah of the Cerrado region of Brazil could grow profitable soybeans, was awarded the 2006 World Food Prize on October 19, 2006.

Soya beans occur in various sizes, and in many hull or seed coat colors, including black, brown, blue, yellow, green and mottled. The hull of the mature bean is hard, water-resistant, and protects the cotyledon and hypocotyl (or "germ") from damage. If the seed coat is cracked, the seed will not germinate. Because soya beans contain very high levels of protein, they can undergo desiccation, yet survive and revive after water absorption.

Soya beans are considered to be a source of complete protein. For this reason, soy is a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat.Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat.

Back to top