Soybean

Soybean is an annual legume of the botanical family Fabaceae and sub-family Faboideae. Its genus is Glycine, and its botanical name is Glycine max. It is cultivated in many countries on all the continents worldwide. It is one of the most prevalently grown and used oilseeds for its oil and protein content. Various food and non-food or industrial uses have been developed for soybean. It is also known as 'soy bean', 'soya bean', and 'soja bean'.

 

Soybean seeds are cleaned to remove dirt and agricultural waste and dried before processing them in the cracker, where they are 'cracked' to break the seeds into several pieces and remove the hard outer hull. The process is also called dehulling. The cracker or dehulling equipment consists of rollers and screens. The dehulled soybeans are processed through an extruder machine to condition the seeds by the friction of moving parts. After this conditioning, soy material is fed to Expellers for oil extraction.

 

The expeller makes use of higher temperature and pressure to remove soybean oil from the dehulled seeds without the use of any solvent. The expelled oil is then refined through various process steps. Finally, the deoiled meal, i.e., the seed mass remaining behind after oil extraction, is processed further to produce different products, such as animal feed.

 

However, further seed treatment is needed to extract the oil using solvent extraction. The cracked and dehulled soybeans are cooked or conditioned by heating (usually between 60 to 88 deg. C or 140 to 190 deg. F) and adjusting their water (moisture) content in the conditioning equipment. Then the cooked soybeans undergo the flaking operation to form flakes of the soybean pieces. These flakes are then extruded to obtain a uniform mass suitable for solvent extraction. These extruded soybean flakes are then passed through the solvent extraction unit, sprayed with food-grade hexane solvent to extract the oil using counter-current flow and pre-defined temperature and pressure. The oil-rich miscella (the mixture of oil and solvent) is distilled to remove the solvent for recycling into the solvent extraction process. The soybean oil is taken up for refining. The deoiled meal is processed through a de-solventizer to remove residual solvent and processed to obtain various products.

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