Characteristics of soy protein prepared using an aqueous ethanol washing process

Peng, Yu; Kyriakopoulou, Konstantina; Ndiaye, Mbalo; Bianeis, Marine; Keppler, Julia K.; Goot, Atze Jan van der


Currently, the predominant process for soy protein concentrate (SPC) production is aqueous ethanol washing of hexane‐extracted soy meal. However, the use of hexane is less desired, which explains the increased interest in cold pressing for oil removal. In this study, cold‐pressed soy meal was used as the starting material, and a range of water/ethanol ratios was applied for the washing process to produce SPCs. Washing enriched the protein content for the SPCs, regardless of the solvent used. However, we conclude that washing with water (0% ethanol) or solvents with a high water/ethanol ratio (60% and above) can be more advantageous. Washing with a high water/ethanol ratio resulted in the highest yield, and SPCs with the highest protein solubility and water holding capacity. The water‐only washed SPC showed the highest viscosity, and formed gels with the highest gel strength and hardness among all the SPCs at a similar protein concentration. The variations in the functionality among the SPCs were attributed to protein changes, although the effects of non‐protein constituents such as sugar and oil might also be important. Overall, the aqueous ethanol washing process combined with cold‐pressed soy meal created SPCs comparable to commercial SPC in terms of composition, but with varied functionalities that are relevant for novel soy‐food developments.