ECODA project number: AIP activity 2

Principal investigators: Jim McCullagh

Executive summary

ECODA’s major soybean industry partner, Sevita International, exports a wide range of soybean varieties to Japan for use by Japanese processors to make soymilk and tofu. Each Japanese customer has a different formulation, process and style of product and, therefore, different soybean varieties work better for some customers than others.

In order to identify germplasm suitable to produce preferred soymilk and tofu varieties for international markets, a study of the metabolome of the soybean was initiated using a state of the art ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC MS QTOF) analytical facility.

Raw soybean seeds were analyzed to identify novel compounds within the seed and then end products (soymilk and tofu) were analyzed to determine which compounds in the raw soybean seeds persisted during the production process and could be identified in the end products.

This activity has resulted in methods developed for the first time to provide a detailed, non-targeted analysis of extractable, small molecular weight compounds in soybeans, many of which are primarily involved in taste and odour perception, and also several hundred compounds that were uniquely annotated (using mass to charge ratio (m/z) and retention time (rt) data). Most of the major compounds (>200) have been identified chemically with certainty using standards and internet references.

Six biomarkers for soymilk and three biomarkers for tofu have been discovered. Compounds found in both the raw soybean seeds and the end products can now be used for the screening of Sevita International’s germplasm to determine if there are any particular varieties that can be identified for end user testing and future sensory evaluation studies.

Access the research project’s final report.

Compound/constituent identification in raw soybeans as well as in finished products: Development of a designer soybean testing methodology