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Development of a Paste-like Soy-based Product for Humanitarian Propose Meng Li University of Maryland


Soybeans, as an economic and high quality protein source, contain 40% protein with all 9 essential amino acids [2]. While equivalent or even superior to meat or dairy protein in regard of health benefits, soybeans has much lower environment impacts [3]. After the FDA health claim on the cholesterol lowering effects of soy protein (FDA 1999), USDA issued a ruling allowing soy protein to completely replace animal protein in the National school lunch program (USDA 2000). These advantages of soybean, as well as its abundant yields in United States, make it an ideal resource for malnutrition and post-disaster hunger relief use.

Most recent data revealed that 925 million people are suffering from hunger (FAO 2011), which means every 1 out of 7 people on earth lack the basic resources of food. As a result of hunger, malnutrition causes death, intestinal disorders, immune compromises and other chronic diseases. Natural disasters such as drought and flood also result insecure food supplies. In our study, soybeans are investigated to evaluate their feasibility to function as the main ingredient in meal replacement for malnutrition and disaster relief, because of their high levels of proteins and lipids, long-recognized health promotion effects, as well as abundant yield of soybeans in United States. A paste-like product of soybean was developed, and processing methods were established to reduce four nutritional limiting factors including trypsin inhibitors, non-digestible oligosaccharides, phytic acid and phytoestrogens, allowing this product to better serve special population groups such as children and immune compromised patients. Future steps including flavor adjustment and micronutrients fortification will be done to optimize the performance of this product.

Therefore, this project aimed at developing a nutritious and shelfstable soy-based product to mainly serve but not limited to three demographic groups: (i) kids, elderly, patients suffering from malnutrition; (ii) Post-disaster victims in need of steady food supplies; (iii) Sufferers from hunger around the world. To achieve this goal, novel processing methods will be developed to minimize four limiting factors in soybeans, namely trypsin inhibitor, oligosaccharides, phytic acid and phytoestrogens. Moreover, to become a shelf-stable product adequate for emergency relief efforts, various approaches will be investigated to achieve desirable extension of product shelf life.

Categories and Subject Descriptors [Food for All]; [Food for Sustainable Growth]

Keywords Product development, Alternative protein resources, Soybean, Malnutrition, Disaster relief.

1. INTRODUCTION: AIMS AND BACKGROUND Malnutrition, also referred as undernutrition or undernourishment, is a serious public-health problem that has been linked to a substantial increase of mortality and morbidity [1]. The most important form of malnutrition, protein-energy malnutrition, is mainly resulted by the lack of food resources, particularly in underprivileged populations. Except poverty and lack of feeding practice, uncontrollable natural disaster also causes urgent food insecurity. As those issues getting more and more global attention, considerable efforts have been put into development of emergency or therapeutic food products.

Figure 1. Research scheme


PetrifilmTM E. coli and coliform count plate showed negative result in samples that have been stored at room temperature for 4 months.

2. DESCRIPTION 2.1 Stage 1: Product formulation and basic processing establishment

Deep-fat frying at 150°C for 5 min eliminated the beany flavor and enhanced the nutty flavor of soy powder. Pretreatment steps including soaking, dehulling, sonication, oven drying prior to deep-fat frying fully inactivated trypsin inhibitor and effectively reduced total oligosaccharides (73% reduction, from 37.4 to 8.3 mg/g, P<0.05), as well as phytic acid (41% reduction, from 14.3 to 8.4 mg/g, P<0.05). In addition, the aforementioned processing steps in proper sequence also significantly reduced soy isoflavones (38% reduction, from 1.96 ± 0.01to 1.22 ± 0.02 mg/g, P<0.05), whose possible hormone disturbance and adverse effects on fertility and breast cancer have been a major limiting factor hindering consumer acceptance of soy products.

The research scheme is shown in Fig. 1. At the first stage, research attention was primarily focused on formulating the products and establishing the basic processing steps. A paste-like product made by whole soybean was developed. Overall, this product showed favorable texture, taste and aroma, and also reserved almost all the protein in raw soybeans. The product was further investigated by the following analysis: (i) protein content by nitrogen analyzer (2410 Series II, Perkin Elmer, MA, USA); (ii) water activity; (iii) texture analysis in terms of firmness, spreadability and adhesiveness (XT2Plus, Texture Technologies, NJ, USA). 2.2 Stage 2: elimination of four limiting factors


In the second stage, multiple combination of pretreatment and processing methods will be investigated for their effects on reduction of four limiting factors: (i) trypsin inhibitor, which are substances that can reduce the digestibility of other proteins in terms of binding proteases; (ii) oligosaccharides, which are known as flatulence factors, mainly raffinose and stachyose; (iii) phytic acid, which can bind with minerals, including zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, resulting micronutrient deficiency; (iiii) phytoestrogens, which function like steroid estrogen and may have hormone disturbance and tumor promotion effects.

In conclusion, a paste-like soybean-based product was successfully developed. Its possible application can be found in humanitarian purpose such as malnutrition treatment and disaster relief. Further research, if needed, could be focused on homogenization of product, including those possible methods: (i) addition of emulsifiers; (ii) employment of homogenizer; (iii) further reduction of soy powder size. Animal feeding trials are recommended to evaluate the efficiency of this new product.

The analysis methods to be used in this stage are as follows: (i) trypsin inhibitor activity determination by 96 well microplate reader; (ii) oligosaccharides by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with reflective index detector; (iii) phytic acid detection through colorimetric method [4]; (iiii) total isoflavone content determination using HPLC with UV detector.

Acknowledgments: The author thanks Dr. Y. Martin Lo and Dr. Yuting Zhou for their valuable suggestions and comments on this study. The author also acknowledges support from Department of Nutrition and Food Science in University of Maryland.


2.3 Stage 3: Flavor adjustment and nutrition analysis

[1] Blössner, M., & Onís, M. (2005). Malnutrition: Quantifying

During this process, salt, sugar, onion powder and other seasonings such as honey, and vanilla could be added to enhance the flavor. In current product, it has been found that the addition of small amount of salt largely enhanced the taste, at the formulation where fried soy powder: vegetable oil: butter: salt = 4:1:1: 0.05. Sensory evaluation will be conducted at the final stage, and mainly focus on graininess, oiliness, chewiness and mothdryness of the product [5].

the health impact at national and local levels. Geneva: World Health Organization. [2] Liu, K. S. (1997). Soybeans: Chemistry, technology, and utilization. New York: Chapman & Hall. [3] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations., World Health Organization., & Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Protein Quality Evaluation. (1991). Protein quality evaluation: Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation.

Approximate analysis will be performed to understand the calorie value and caloric distribution, NPC:N Ratio, as well as micronutrients content to determine if it meet the Recommended Daily Intake values.



Barampama, Z. & Simard, R. (July 01, 1994). Oligosaccharides, Antinutritional Factors, and Protein Digestibility of Dry Beans as Affected by Processing. Journal of Food Science, 59, 4, 833-838.4

[5] Gills, L. A., & Resurreccion, A. V. A. (January 01, 2000). Sensory and Nutritive Qualities of Food - Sensory and Physical Properties of Peanut Butter Treated with Palm Oil and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil to Prevent Oil Separation. Journal of Food Science : an Official Publication of the Institute of Food Technologists, 65, 1, 173-180.

To date, a paste-like soybean product was developed as a meal replacement for malnutrition treatment and disaster relief (Fig.2). This product employed deep-fried whole soybean powder as main ingredient and was blend with vegetable oil and butter to enhance the texture. After flavor adjustment, the product had a water PetrifilmTM E. coli and coliform count plate showed negative


Figure 2. Deep-fried soy powder (left), deep-fried soy paste (middle) and soy paste in vacuum package (right)


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