This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
National Soybean Research Laboratory
Research About Soy
NSRL Site Guide
Contact Resarch Themes History of Soy Soy Nutrition Soy Processing Soy Production Question of the NSRL Programs Illinois Center Varietal International Soybean StratSoy Soy Select Soy/Swine Soy in Animal World Inititaive Search
As of February 2010, all webpages for the National Soybean Research Laboratory have been remodelled, including this page. For updated information, please visit us at www.nsrl.illinois.edu
Soybean Processing…From Field to Consumer
Threshing & Transport Drying Cleaning Packaging & Storage Processed Soybean Uses Meal & Oil Processing
Search NSRL Search WWW
Farmers dedicate much time and hard work to produce and harvest millions of tons of soybeans. That work is complemented by the considerable effort and care the soybeans receive after harvesting to ensure the high quality and continuous supply of soy products to processing industries and consumers. Soybean processing involves a series of steps to produce commodities for food, industrial, and animal feed uses. Threshing Threshing consists of separating the beans from the pods (portion of the plant fruit that encases the soybean seeds). Most soybeans are harvested and threshed simultaneously by modern combines. Threshing can also be done by hand using simple tools, the help of vehicles, or simple hand or motor-driven machines. Whatever the system used, it is very important that threshing be done with care to prevent breakage of the beans or hulls. Careless threshing can reduce the product's quality and foster subsequent losses from the action of insects and post harvest disease.. Transport Soybeans have to be moved throughout the post harvest system. This includes soybean transport from the fields to the threshing or drying site, and then to storehouses or to collection centers and further transpost to processing industries or to bigger central storage buildings. Finally, the beans move from these industries or storage buildings to wholesalers or retailers for final marketing. The type of transport used to move soybeans depends on the amount of beans and distance traveled. It is especially important to transport the beans from the field to storage centers as soon as possible to avoid deterioration.
1 of 4
Sometimes cleaning is done more than once through the post harvest system and may be accompanied by sorting the beans according to quality. or subsequesnt crops to be planted shortly after soybean harvest. the threshed soybeans are spread in thin layers on a drying-floor where they are exposed to the air and sunlight for about 1 to 2 weeks. weather conditions. farmers are forced to harvest soybeans with high moisture content. soybeans are contaminated by soil. After threshing. dry air to circulate around the f beans. Care must be taken to load and arrange bags properly in the truck to avoiding crushing the lower layers and to permit air to circulate around the bags. 2 of 4 14/05/2011 22:46 . the relative humidity of the ambient air must not exceed 70 percent for drying to be effective. there is a loss in quality when the beans undergo changes during transport.nsrl. The cold and moist night air fosters re-humidification of the beans which may be detrimental to bean quality. As a rule of thumb. Drying " Drying" is a post harvest phase during which the beans are rapidly dried until they reach the "safe-moisture" level.uiuc. artificial drying is necessary. Due to the length of the growing season. When relying on natural drying methods. and serve as targets for post harvest disease. In dry climates and soybean producing regions that may not have access to mechanized drying equipment. weed seeds. The beans must be stirred frequently to encourage uniform drying. In these regions. Essentially two methods of drying are utilized. In addition. After threshing. soybeans must be protected while being transported in the rainy season. In humid tropical and subtropical regions or areas with unfavorable weather conditions at harvest. Return to Top of Page Cleaning Cleaning consists of eliminating impurities and debris from the harvested crop. or broken soybean seeds. it is often difficult to safeguard the quality of newly harvested soybeans. Drying can be done by allowing warm. make post harvest processing longer and more costly.NSRL : About Soy: Soybean Processing http://www. Loss means the difference in weight between the quantity loaded before transport and the quantity unloaded after transport. it is necessary to dry the beans artificially. The broken seeds and other impurities hinder drying operations. Also. With the introduction of high-yielding soybean varieties and the use of agriculture mechanization. lower the end-product quality. Artificial drying.html#mealprocessing Return to Top of Page Losses during transport must be minimumized. To avoid transport losses. This method of drying consists of exposing the beans to forced ventilation of air that is heated to certain degree in special equipment called "dryers". either natural or artificial drying. it is possible to harvest large quantities of soybeans in a relative short time and quickly dry the beans for storage. small pebbles. soybeans must not be exposed at night. The purpose of drying is to lower the moisture content in order to guarantee conditions favorable for storage or for further processing and handling of the product. bags must be checked before filled with beans since the bags are reused and can tear and leak during loading or unloading.edu/aboutsoy/soyprocessing. the moisture content of the beans is sometimes too high for good conservation (13 to 15 percent). plant and insect waste. Consequently. Natural drying methods should not be used in humid regions or during rainy seasons. Natural drying.
dairy and meat products. the solvent is removed. the screw press replaced the less efficient hydraulic press. sized to produce soy grits or texturized to produce textured vegetable protein (TVP) for food uses. to guarantee regular and continuous supplies of raw soybeans for processing industries and to balance the supply and demand of soybean. Return to Top of Page Processed Soybean Uses Soybeans are grown primarily for meal. Gradually. Wilson. or plastic.nsrl. the soybeans are cracked to remove the hull and then rolled into full-fat flakes. Cleaning is done by repeated suction of the lightest impurities. Cleaner-separator machines are used when large quantities of beans are cleaned. infant formulas and the so-called new generation soy foods. followed by siftings of the beans. creating defatted soy flakes.uiuc. Major changes during the last two decades have included introduction of the expander. two different types of soybeans have emerged: food beans and oil beans (Liu et al. to ensure seed availability for the next crop cycle. The free space between the top layer of the stacks and the top of the storehouse should be at least 1 meter. improved working conditions for employees (dust 3 of 4 14/05/2011 22:46 . Sometimes. This cleaning method does not eliminate the heavier impurities. The main objectives of soybean storage are to permit deferred soybean use.html#mealprocessing The simplest cleaning method involves tossing the beans into the air and letting the wind carry off the lightest impurities. Return to Top of Page Packaging Soybeans are generally packed in bags made of either jute. 1995). 1944). Due to this difference in soybean use. In 1934. After the oil has been extracted. the first solvent extraction process was introduced. in order to prevent direct contact of bags with the floor. Storage Storage is an important phase of the post harvest system.edu/aboutsoy/soyprocessing. Soy Processing. thereby stabilizing its market price.NSRL : About Soy: Soybean Processing http://www. Improvements in oil extraction are continuously evolving. cotton fibers. These ingredients have functional and nutritional applications in various types of bakery. The type of bag determines the height of the stacks. Further processing can produce high protein food ingredients such as soy protein concentrates and isolated soy protein. and oil is a secondary product. installation of heat recovery systems and co-generation (making steam and electricity on site by burning waste by-products like hulls). Generally. Orthoefer and Liu 1995. a fan and set of vibrating sieves. the flakes can be ground to produce soy flour. the soybeans are stored in a manner to be readily available and high quality. the bags are stacked on wooden platforms called pallets. and the flakes are dried. Bag packaging is seldom used in developed countries but it is widespread in developing countries because it is economical and well adapted to local grain-transport and marketing conditions. small-farmers keep small quantities of soybeans in sealed containers for self-consumption. Products and How They are Used Return to Top of Page Meal and Oil Processing Early oil mill processing of soybeans were typically small scale operations using hydraulic and screw presses (Goss. They are motor-driven and consist mainly of a reception hopper. facilitating solvent extraction of the oil. The rolling process disrupts the oil cells. During processing. 1995. During this phase. While most of the defatted soy flakes are further processed into soybean meal for animal feeding.
Marcel Dekker. F. mechanical extraction is often preferred by small extraction plants throughout the world to remove the oil. The temperature profile within the extruder barrel can be varied depending upon the intended use of the processed meal. Liu. reduced contamination of the environment. Orthoefer.. The case of food-grade soybean varieties. AOAC Press. Int’l Food Marketing & Technol. Jr. Solvent extraction is the most widely used method for oil extraction in the Western world.. Orthoefer.W. (Ed. Ill. Erickson (Ed. 1944. 2000). F. Champaign.R. Flowchart of Soybean Processing Interactive Flow Diagram for Soybean Processing and Direct Solvent Extraction Soybean meal and oil also can be produced by the ExPress System. Lower temperature profiles are used when the meal is intended for use as a functional ingredient in food applications (Wijeratne. Soybeans for food uses. pp. E. the material is subjected to friction and pressure. Soy foods.H. 5(1): 6-9. Lusas. the top temperature at the exit of the extruder barrel is 150 °C.). and Liu. Within the extruder barrel. where the whole or de-hulled soybeans at field moisture are fed continuously to a dry extruder. Wilson. Inc. INFORM 6(5): 593-599. 297-362. 1995. K. and Thompson. Typically. 1995. and heat is generated.). 428-459. 9(4):4-8. Ponte.E. Champaign. K. Alternative technology for primary processing of soybean. Publisher Superior Printing. D. L. Oilseeds and oil-bearing materials.B. In Handbook of Cereal Science and Technology. This process does not require an external heat source. G. IL. Processing soybeans.uiuc. Return to Top of Page Home | Research Themes | About NSRL News & Events | About Soy | Contact Us | NSRL Programs National Soybean Research Laboratory (217) 244-1706 Email: nsrl@uiuc. 1999. K.A. H. 1995. Some crushing industries combine these extraction methods to maximize oil extraction and its quality. However. automation of equipment.S. 368-370. Soybean Dig. and reduction of manual labor (Lusas. Wijeratne. 1999).html#mealprocessing and sound control). referred to as "full" pressing or prepress-solvent extraction. introduction of computer control of the processes. (Excerpts taken form FAO Post Harvest Compendium) References Goss.S.. In Practical Handbook of Soybean Processing and Utilization. pp.. Kauffman (Ed.). W.nsrl.NSRL : About Soy: Soybean Processing http://www. Direct solvent extraction. can separate oil from soybeans. New York.edu/aboutsoy/soyprocessing. pp. In World Soybean Research Conference VI: Proceedings. K. W. Kulp and J. 2000.edu o Last Modified: 05/14/2011 22:44:49 4 of 4 14/05/2011 22:46 .