Soybean Facts

Soybean Facts
Soybean is a type of legume (plant that belongs to the pea family) that originates from China. Cultivation of soybean started 3500 years BC. Soybean is mostly cultivated in temperate areas with hot summers. Increased demand for products made of soybean accelerates deforestation of Amazon rainforests (deforested areas are converted into agricultural lands used for cultivation of soybean). People cultivate soybean as a source of food and oil that has application in numerous industries.
Interesting Soybean Facts:
Size of soybean depends on the variety. It can reach from 0.66 to 6.56 feet in height.
Soybean has compound leaves that consist of 3 to 4 green leaflets. Leaves are covered with miniature grey hairs.
Soybean produces white, pink or purple flowers. They grow in the axils of leaves. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (pistil and stamens) and they are able to perform self-fertilization.
Soybean produces hairy pods (fruit) with 2 to 4 seeds. Fruit grows gathered in clusters composed of 3 to 5 pods. Color of the hull (outer coat of seed) depends on the variety of soybean. It can be black, blue, green, yellow or mottled.
Soybean is propagated via seed. It has short vegetative season. Soybean is usually harvested 80 to 120 days after planting.
Soybean is the only plant that contains "complete protein" (all essential amino acids that can be found in meat). Soybean is also rich source of vitamin K and vitamins of the B group, dietary fibers and minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Despite excellent nutritional profile of this plant, majority produced soybean serves as food for animals.
Soybean is important part of human diet, but it needs to be processed (cannot be consumed raw) before consumption. Best known products made of soybean are tofu, miso, tempeh, soy milk, soy meal and soy flour.
Vegetable oil extracted from soybean has wide application in the food industry. It is integral part of mayonnaise, salad dressings, canned food, processed food, frozen desserts, candies and various types of cheese. This type of oil is also used for cooking.
Oil extracted from soybean can be used as biodiesel (eco-friendly type of fuel that does not pollute atmosphere as much as fossil fuels).
Soybean oil is used for the production of ink. 50% of daily newspapers in the USA use ink made of soy to print latest news.
Soybeans are used in the manufacture of crayons, textiles, alcoholic beverages (such as vodka) and adhesives.
Soybean is used in the cosmetic industry for the production of various shampoos, soaps and skin care products.
USA and Brazil are the greatest manufacturers of soybean in the world. They produce around 90 million tons of soybeans annually.
Soybean is cultivated as annual plant (plant which completes its life cycle in one year).

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts