Soybean Bioactive Molecules: Current Trend and Future Prospective

Living reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


Bioactive food components or functional foods have recently received significant attention because of their widely advertised positive effects on health beyond basic nutrition. Soybean, a leguminous crop native to East Asia, is renowned for high protein and often used to replace the animal proteins in an individual’s diet, due to fact that is only vegetable food contains all the essential amino acids. Therefore, FDA authorized a health claim for soy protein that 25 g of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. Besides, soybean comprises isoflavones, phytosterols, saponins, and other basic nutritive constituents, such as lipids, vitamins, minerals, oligosaccharides, and biological active peptides, that are of strong therapeutic values. The potential health benefits of soybean/soy bioactive components include protect heart health, anticancer, reduce the effects of menopause, promotes bone health, improve metabolism, and decrease the risk of diabetes. Fermentation is considered as one of the best means to eliminate unpleasant beany flavors, which limit the wide consumption of soybean. Soy isoflavones appear to have estrogen-like activity because they structurally resemble to estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors. Daidzein, genistein, and glycitein are three major glycosidic forms of isoflavones found in soybeans responsible for most of health benefits. Soy bioactive peptides are specific fragments of major soy proteins β-conglycinin and glycinin, and they can be released by enzymatic hydrolysis, food processing, and/or fermentation. Apart from that, saponins derived from soybean appear to have strong cancer inhibitory properties. Moreover, several experimental trials revealed the ability of soy phytosterols to lower cholesterol. In spite of remarkable biological functions of soy bioactive compounds, their large-scale production and commercialization are limited. Therefore, there is much required need to emphasize large-scale production, mechanism of action, and bioavailability of these components. Henceforth, this chapter comprises the current scenario and future prospective of major soy bioactive compounds and their associated health benefits.


Soybean Phytoestrogens Isoflavones Bioactive Peptides Lunasin Saponins Phytosterols Angiotensin-converting enzyme 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dairy Microbiology DivisionICAR-National Dairy Research InstituteKarnalIndia

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