NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in theAdvice on Publications Available.
Culinary soybeans are varieties with specific seed quality characteristics that make them best suited for a range of food uses. Soybeans grown in Australia for the past thirty years were bred primarily for oil extraction with the residue high prote in meal used for stockfeed.
Varieties are classified according to their food uses, which are mainly the traditional foods of Asia. Each food requires specific quality characteristics in the beans including, for most categories, white or light-coloured hilum.
Soymilk and tofu: Large seeds with a high protein content. Additionally, the protein needs to be of a type that produces a high yield of product, good coagulation rate and texture, and bland flavour. Similar type beans are used for miso producti on.
Natto: Small rounded seeds with a high sugar content. The seeds need to swell on wetting without splitting and shedding the seedcoat.
Sprouts: Small seeds that germinate rapidly and produce a strong hypocotyl but limited root growth.
Edamame: Large seeds with a bright green seedcoat and a high sugar content.
Other foods: There are other speciality types for traditional foods such as the green beans used for green oil production. Non traditional foods are those with a greater use in western societies including soymilk, soy cheese and tofu-based ice c ream. These require the same qualities as those for traditional tofu, although a bland taste is more important than in the traditional foods. Beans used for other products such as soy sauce and tempe have no detailed quality specifications, while those us ed for flour generally require white hilum and high protein.
In recent times, varieties with a white or light-coloured hilum on the seed have been released to satisfy the needs of the bakery trade and local soymilk manufacturers but breeders have not targeted other seed quality traits. There is also emerging production of edamame (vegetable soybean) and sporadic attempts have been made to grow imported varieties of the natto type.
What the future holds
CSIRO has established a crop improvement program to produce varieties with the quality attributes required for both local and overseas markets and with the adaptation required for successful local production.
CSIRO also conducts the Food into Asia Program to assist the development of food products for export. The outputs from these activities combined with strong interest from the agribusiness and food manufacturers will provide the basis for development of a strong soybean food industry.
For growers, there are no major changes required to switch from oilseed to culinary soybeans although a high level of crop management must be applied to ensure top quality grain is produced.
Strong export markets and an expanding local market are available. For example, Japanese consumption of food soybeans approximates 500,000 t of tofu-type beans, 300,000 t of other dry bean types and 100,000 t of edamame. An increasing proportion of this consumption is being imported. Prices range from 10% to 150% premium above oilseed beans, depending on type and quality.
Bruce Imrie or Andrew James
CSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures
St Lucia, Queensland, 4072
Phone: (07) 3377 0209
Facsimile: (07) 3377 0410
International fax: 61 7 3377 0410
Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances. This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter
Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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originally created by:GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF