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soya bean,


soy pea,

leguminous plant (Glycine max, G. soja, or Soja max) of the family Leguminosae (pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family), native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, where it has been cultivated as a principal crop for at least 5,000 years. There are over 2,500 varieties in cultivation, producing beans of many sizes, shapes, and colors. As a crop, soybeans are high in yield and easy to harvest; they grow well wherever corn is cultivated.

In East Asia, soybeans are used in a multitude of forms, e.g., as soy sauce, soybean meal, vegetable oil, tofu (bean curd), miso (fermented soybean paste), and soy milk, and as a coffee substitute. In the United States, soybean products such as tofu, miso, and soy milk have become especially popular in lowfat and vegetarian diets (see vegetarianismvegetarianism,
theory and practice of eating only fruits and vegetables, thus excluding animal flesh, fish, or fowl and often butter, eggs, and milk. In a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet (i.e.
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). The green crop is used for forage and hay, and the cake as stock feed and as fertilizer. Soybean oil is used commercially in the manufacture of glycerin, paints, soaps, rubber substitutes, plastics, printing ink, and other products.

Cultivation of the soybean, long confined chiefly to China, gradually spread to other countries. During World War II soybeans became important in both North America and Europe chiefly as substitutes for other protein foods and as a source of edible oil. In the United States they are now a leading crop, and Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay also are significant soybean-exporting nations. China and Japan are by far the largest importers of soybeans.

Soybeans are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.


See M. M. Lager, The Useful Soybean (1945); J. P. Houck et al., Soybeans and Their Products (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


Glycine max. An erect annual legume native to China and Manchuria and widely cultivated for forage and for its seed.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

soya bean

(US and Canadian), soybean
1. an Asian bean plant, Glycine max (or G. soja), cultivated for its nutritious seeds, for forage, and to improve the soil
2. the seed of this plant, used as food, forage, and as the source of an oil
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Growing impetus towards healthy drinks, high family incomes, and fast-paced lifestyle are driving the growth for soy beverages to demand in South America.
Plain-colored textured soy protein mimics the fat pieces in raw red meat, and blends well in both cooked and raw white meat products.
Changing lifestyles and working patterns are likely to build up an opportunity for the dairy and soy products industry.
"Its easy to incorporate soy foods into your diet--add edamame to soups or stews, mix soynuts into your trail mix, include tofu in a vegetable stir-fry, or sprinkle crumbled tempeh into chili or pasta sauce," suggests Topol.
Meanwhile, studies on humans haven't found that consuming soy foods is harmful.
If you would like to get more soy in your diet, because you want a plant-based protein source without cholesterol and saturated fats, Hunnes suggests going with the least processed forms of soy, from natural foods: edamame, soy nuts, soy beans, tofu, or soy milk.
Erdman noted that soy isoflavone serum and prostate levels in the mice are similar to those found in Asian men who consume one to two servings of soy daily.
Individual protein chains like those in soy flour fold to minimize their interaction with water because of the high hydrophobic content.
Soy protein can decrease total LDL cholesterol and may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when consumed as part of a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
The evidence that large intakes of soy appear safe (or even beneficial) is based largely on the Chinese women.
In spite of increased recognition, soy foods have plenty of room to grow.
They used feeding data from questionnaires completed by mothers at 1, 6, 15, and 24 months postpartum to divide children into four categories: "primarily breast" (breastfed for at least 6 months), "early formula" (introduced to nonsoy milk or infant formula at or before 4 months old, with sustained use at 6 months of age), "early soy" (introduced to soy milk or soy formula at or before 4 months old, with sustained use at 6 months of age), and "late soy" (introduced to soy milk or soy formula anytime between 5 and 15 months of age).