Whole soybean protein extraction processes: A review

Katherine Preece, N. Hooshyar, N. J. Zuidam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
4148 Downloads (Pure)


Soybeans are an important raw material for those seeking vegan, lactose-free products, such as soymilk and tofu. The aim of this review article is to provide an overview of aqueous extraction of protein and other desirable components from whole soybeans. Firstly, a discussion over the microstructure of the soybean is held, including a summary of protein localisation and properties. A detailed review of common whole soybean extraction process is then given, along with extraction process parameters and process intensification steps that can improve yield. A novel extraction model is presented, based on a mass balance of the water phases. The extraction model reveals separation as the main limitation for protein recovery during aqueous soy protein extraction due to the high amount of okara waste stream and its high moisture content.

Industrial relevance: Typically, the extraction of protein from an intermediate soy-protein ingredient is studied at lab-scale. Within industry, aqueous extract from whole soybeans is commonly used for making consumer products containing both soy protein and soybean oil, and this has been the focus of this review. Key extraction process parameters are presented and challenges of each extraction step are given for the whole soybean extraction process. A novel model for determining the separation efficiency has been presented, which is useful for many other extraction systems that contain components of interest in high amounts of waste stream.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
JournalInnovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies
Early online date16 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Aqueous extraction
  • microstructure
  • soymilk
  • cavitation


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