Soybeans are the most protective beans. They contain 40 percent protein. They have the highest protein content amongst plant products. "Soy protein" refers to the protein found in soybeans. They often used to replace the animal proteins in an individual's diet. Soybeans are the only vegetable foods that contain all eight essential amino acids.
Soybeans occur in various sizes, and in many hull or seed coat colors, including black, brown, blue, yellow, green and mottled.
The hull of the mature bean is hard, water-resistant, and protects the cotyledon and hypocotyl (or "germ") from damage.
If the seed coat is cracked, the seed will not germinate. The scar, visible on the seed coat, is called the hilum (colors include black, brown, buff, gray and yellow) and at one end of the hilum is the micropyle, or small opening in the seed coat which can allow the absorption of water for sprouting.
- Majority is made into soybean meals and vegetable oil.
- High-protein defatted and "toasted" soy meal used as livestock feed.
- Soy (or soya) include: soy meal, soy flour, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy cheese, tofu, textured vegetable protein (TVP, which is made into a wide variety of vegetarian foods, some of them intended to imitate meat), tempeh, soy lecithin and soybean oil.
- Main ingredient for production of soy sauce (shoyu).