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Patented Technology for Whole Soybase and Whole Soymilk Manufacture and associated Potential Health Benefits
Two United States patents (No. 6,451,359 and 7,067,163) and European patent (EP 1,309,248) cooperatively awarded to Dr. Leslie M. Nsofor describe enzyme-based methods for hydrolyzing whole soybean matrix. Predigestion/enzyme-hydrolysis causes the release of bioactive nutrients from the compact soy matrix. Spray drying of the hydrolyzed matrix produces a powdered soy base with high content of soluble components. When reconstituted in water, the hydrolyzed liquid soy base is odor-free and completely bland-tasting. About 60 - 80% of the isoflavones in the parent soybeans are converted from the storage inactive form (glycoside) to the active biologically available form (aglycone). Isoflavones have been associated with the prevention of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Their antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties are widely recognized.

Enzyme hydrolysis also converts complex insoluble soy fiber (okara) to soluble fiber and desirable short chain sugars (prebiotics). Prebiotics promote the fermentative activity of gut microflora (probiotics), producing bioactive compounds like short chain fatty acids such as acetic, propionic and butyric acids. Short chain fatty acids have recently been observed to facilitate gene expression necessary for sustained protein synthesis by the human body. New research findings also associate these acids with the production of biosignals for satiety. The bioprocessed whole soy matrix appears ideal for diabetic patients since it does not contain the type of sugars that increase blood sugar (glycemic index). Also the phytate (inositol-phosphate) abundant in soy fiber could be associated with cholesterol (the bad type) binding in the colon. Soluble fiber is widely known to bind cholesterol.

Desirable changes occur in the lipid phase of the predigested whole soy matrix. Higher ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids have been observed relative to the non-predigested variety. This is beneficial to health. Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain the integrity of arteries. They contribute to the prevention of plaques build-up in the arteries which significantly reduces the incidents of heart attacks and strokes. Overall changes in the lipid phase induced by enzyme hydrolysis appear to contribute to increased anti-oxidant properties of the predigested soybeans. The spray-dried predigested whole soy matrix did not exhibit oxidative rancidity in taste tests after one year's storage in ambient condition. Hydrolyzed lecithin that is abundantly present in predigested whole soy matrix produces choline which is very essential for nerve transmission.

The matrix proteins in the predigested soybean undergo major modifications. Protein solubility is increased as a result of hydrolysis of large protein molecules to produce shorter peptides. Short chain peptides tend to be more bioactive than intact proteins or individual amino acids. Dietary peptides are generally known to have biological importance beyond their nutritive value as protein, influencing structural, hormonal, immune and neurological functions.

Generally, predigested whole soy matrix products would be ideal for individuals with diminished gastrointestinal activity due to age, illness, stress, reduced physical activity or altered dietary habits.

Applications of predigested whole soy matrix in dairy analogs formulations:

Commercial milk-free whole soy matrix products such as plain soymilk, vanilla-soymilk and chocolate-soymilk have been produced with the bioprocessed whole soy matrix. Cultured products and frozen desserts including soy-based yogurt, soy-ice cream, non-dairy creamer, soy cream liqueurs, and soymilk-fruit juice blends also have been formulated. Blending skim milk with the bioprocessed whole soy matrix produces a bland beverage for finicky milk drinkers. Other foods could be nutritionally fortified with the predigested whole soy matrix products. The enhanced solubility of this new soy base makes it reconstitute most readily and is thus convenient for blending with fruit juices.

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