Characteristics of soybean
CHARACTERISTICS OF SOYBEAN
What is soy?
Soybean (Glycine max) is an annual plant up to 1.5 m. Erect stems covered with a thick brownish hairs. Leaves alternate, trifoliate with ovate leaflets and short peduncles; the basal ones, simple. Flowers white or white - violet, 5-6 cm long in clusters.
The fruits are pods of up to 7 cm long with one to four seeds inside. These show different colors depending on the variety in question (mostly yellow, black or green).
Origins of soy
It derives from Glycine ussuriensis species that grows wild in China and Japan. Soybeans originated in Southeast Asia.
We have traces of their existence in China for over 5000 years and their use as food is documented in this country in 2800 BC. Since the Eastern religions prohibit the consumption of animal meat, soybeans were imposed from the beginning as a crop in the East to supply essential proteins for people who could not afford meat.
In fact, in these regions is known as "flesh of the fields" or "beef in China." From there, it was was taken to Europe in the eighteenth century and to U.S.A. in the early nineteenth century.
It is here where its cultivation became more important among the Western countries to become the first country in the world and a major exporter to other countries in need. Brazil is the second largest producer in the world, exceeding Argentina, China and India. Italy is Europe's largest producer.
Varieties of soy
There are many cultivated varieties of soybean. which are classified into 10 groups taking into account the duration of its life cycle. Among all them, we could mention the following:
Uses of soy
Soy was used and is still being used as food in the East, either in its simple form, more as a vegetable or through any of soy products (tofu, soy milk, bean sprouts, soy sauce, etc.) All of these products and especially its derivatives are increasingly extending to other parts of the world.
Soybeans, along with potatoes, maize and millet are the staple foods in China. In West countries, the use of this legume is mainly focused on the production of feed for livestock, edible oils and industrial lubricants, vegetable fats for food products both in the form of margarine and for the industry, paint or other industrial derivatives.
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