The soya bean is native to China, where it was mentioned around 2800 BC, during the term of Emperor Chen Nung. The bean was also established in Japan at first although there, it was not the oil, but Tofu (tofu), a substance similar to the quark (type of fresh white cheese), which became important. With its high content of fat and protein, soy bean has been the favorite food of East Asia since ancient times. The missionaries brought the plant to Europe in 1740, but it was not until the end of the 19th century that the soybeans arrived in America. There, at first it encountered certain difficulties (in America there was no bacteria Rhizobium japoninicum, which is specific to Asian soil, and as ‘short-day plant’, the soy bean could not mature in temperate latitudes) but then It was imposed quickly, with extensive cultivation.
The fruit, which is similar to a pea, is yellow, green or black. Currently, soybeans are grown not only in America (the main growing center in the world) but also in Canada, Brazil, East Asia and the former Soviet Union. The ideal circumstances are a loamy and sandy soil, with a high proportion of nitrogen bacteria, with daylight of a duration of 12-16 hours and temperatures of 30-32 ° C, with warm nights.
The oil content in the seed is approximately 18%. This oil is collected after the seed has been dried, cleaned, peeled, shredded and heat treated, by pressing to obtain an oil rich in palmitic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids. However, it is usually obtained from extraction (solvent). The resulting liquid is clear, pale yellow, semi-dry, with a weak and characteristic odor, and is a typical oil in all senses, 55-65% of which consists of multiple unsaturated fatty acids.
Soybean oil is used mainly as table oil and in the production of margarine and confectionery. In the pharmaceutical industry, soybean oil is used as an energy source for intravenous nutrition. In the sector of dietetic products, of foods for children and in the alimentary sector, the oil is used to dress salads and for mayonnaises. In specialized industries, the oil is used for the production of soaps and as a base for paints, oils, linoleum, printing colors and alkyd resins.