Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from soybean. It is made from soybean meal that has been dehulled and defatted. Dehulled and defatted soybeans are processed into three kinds of high protein commercial products :soy flour, concentrates, and isolates. Soy protein isolate has been used since 1959 in foods for its functional properties. Recently, soy protein popularity has increased due to its use in health food products, and many countries allow health claims for foods rich in soy protein.
Soy protein is generally regarded as being concentrated in protein bodies, which are estimated to contain at least 60–70% of the total soybean protein. Upon germination of the soybean, the protein will be digested, and the released amino acids will be transported to locations of seedling growth. Soybeans contain a small but newly very significant 2S Albumin storage protein. Legume proteins, such as soy and pulses, belong to the globulinfamily of seed storage proteins called legumin and vicilins, or in the case of soybeans, glycinin and beta-conglycinin. Soybeans also contain biologically active or metabolic proteins, such as enzymes, trypsin inhibitors,hemagglutinins, and cysteine proteases very similar to papain. The soy cotyledon storage proteins, important for human nutrition, can be extracted most efficiently by water, water plus dilute alkali , or aqueous solutions of sodium chloride from dehulled and defatted soybeans that have undergone only a minimal heat treatment so the protein is close to being native or undenatured. Soy protein contains phytoestrogens, which bind to estrogen receptors in the body.
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