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Changes of isoflavones during processing of soy protein isolates


Soy protein isolate (SPI) is a widely used food ingredient and is made by extracting soy flour (SF) under slightly alkaline pH, followed by precipitation, washing, and drying. Soy foods and foods containing soy protein ingredients have great potential in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. These health benefits have been attributed to isoflavones in soy protein ingredients. However, the current processing techniques were developed many years ago without this knowledge. The objective of this study was to investigate the mass balance of different isoflavones during manufacturing of SPI and to provide basic information to assist further development efforts leading to preservation of soy isoflavones in soy protein ingredients. The study revealed that only about 26% of the total isoflavones in SF remained in SPI. The percentages of total isoflavones lost during extraction, precipitation, and washing were 19, 14, and 22%, respectively. Washing was the step where most isoflavones were lost. The isoflavone profile of the SPI was different from that of SF. The former contained much more aglucones (genistein and daidzein), while the latter had almost none. The high content of aglucones in SPI was probably due to the hydrolysis of glycosides.

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Correspondence to C. Wang.

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Wang, C., Ma, Q., Pagadala, S. et al. Changes of isoflavones during processing of soy protein isolates. J Amer Oil Chem Soc 75, 337 (1998).

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Key Words

  • Daidzein
  • genistein
  • isoflavones
  • processing
  • soy protein isolate