Soybean is often processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil. It is used as a source of protein in many types of processed foods or as a fodder for farm animals.
Soybean is an important crop. In 2010 the estimated world production of Soybeans was 261,578,498 Metric Tons (source FAOSTAT). This corresponds to about 38 kg per person (in 2010 the world had about 6.9 billion persons). Not all soybean is consumed by people. A lot is used in animal fodders.
Countries with high production include the USA, Argentina and Brazil.
Soybean is a crop which has been genetically modified.
Basic information and facts
Soybean is grown in many countries. Important producers of soybean are the USA, Argentina and Brazil. Other producers include China, India, Paraguay and Canada.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
It is an annual plant.
Like other legumes, soybean has nitrogen-fixing ability. Within nodules of their root systems are symbiotic bacteria (Rhizobia) which can fix nitrogen from the air into ammonia.
The leaves of soybean (and also the stems and pods) are covered with fine brown or gray hairs.
Soybean fruits are hairy pods that grow together in clusters of three to five. Pods are 3 to 8 cm long and usually contain two to four seeds. The seeds are 5 to 11 mm in diameter.
Climate and weather:
Soybean prefers climates with hot summers, with mean temperatures of 20 to 30 °C.
Soybean is a self-pollinating plant.
Height depends on the variety but is generally about 1 meter.
Grown from seeds.
In large scale production of soybean, mechanical harvesting equipment is used.
Most soybean is processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil. A lot of it is used as livestock feed.
In China, soybean is used to produce tofu. Other products made from soy include soy meal, soy flour, soy milk, tempeh, soybean oil and soy sauce. Many of these are important in vegetarian recipes. Soybeans are also used in substitutes for dairy product, such as soy milk, margarine, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, and soy cheese.
Proverbs and Quotes
- Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; Wine and tarragon make it French; Sour cream makes it Russian; Lemon and cinnamon make it Greek; Soy sauce makes it Chinese; Garlic makes it good. (Alice May Brock)
Did you know that?
Soybean is known as a “biotech food crop”. It has been genetically modified, for example to make it resistant against certain herbicides. The use of such modified food crops is controversial.