Economic Feasibility of Soybean Oil Production by Enzyme-Assisted Aqueous Extraction Processing

  • Ming-Hsun Cheng
  • Kurt A. RosentraterEmail author
  • Jasreen Sekhon
  • Tong Wang
  • Stephanie Jung
  • Lawrence A. Johnson
Original Paper


Aqueous oil extraction is an approach that could replace organic solvent extraction with water. Compared to typical solvent extraction and mechanical pressing processes, aqueous extraction has higher oil recovery (over 80%) than the mechanical pressing process, and resolve issues resulted from chemical loading and remaining in the hexane extraction. Proteases are used to assist free oil release from oil bodies by hydrolyzing cotyledon cell walls in aqueous extraction process. The resulting enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction process (EAEP) includes dehulling, flaking, extruding, enzymatic extraction, and enzymatic demulsification processes. SuperPro Designer was used to conduct a techno-economic analysis (TEA) of the extraction process. The total capital investment, operation cost, and profits were evaluated. During EAEP, insolubility of water and oil allows the simultaneous extraction of protein and oil. This decreases operation costs, especially the oil purification process, and therefore increases profits made from the main product (soybean oil). This simultaneous extraction also increases the profit towards the coproduct, i.e., protein in skim. Additionally, the absence of chemical and enzyme recycling contribute to the better economic value of EAEP. Despite the increase in facility costs due to extraction and demulsification units, the value-added coproduct extraction and high free oil yield contribute to the economic feasibility of EAEP in industrial- and commercial-scale productions when skim and insoluble fiber are used as water and carbohydrate supplies for integrated soy/corn ethanol biorefinery processing.


Enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction Techno-economic analysis Soybean oil Skim Operating costs Economic feasibility 



We would like to thank the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR), Iowa State University, for their assistance.

Funding Information

This project was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Award 2013-67021-21083.

Supplementary material

11947_2018_2228_MOESM1_ESM.docx (137 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 136 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and Human NutritionIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Food Science and Human NutritionIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Food Science and NutritionCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Food Science and Human NutritionIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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