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Eat soybeans to prevent diseases

Submitted by on 13 August, 2022 – 4:32 am
Soy contains high levels of health of several beneficial compounds such as tocopherols, which have antioxidant properties. These molecules can be used in the development of functional foods that have specific health beneficial properties and can be used in the treatment or prevention of disease. Tocopherols exist in four forms (α, β, γ, and δ) including γ-tocopherol is found in highest concentration in soybeans.

However, α-tocopherol has the highest antioxidant activity, and how to convert to vitamin E in the human body. Thus, most of interest to soybean tocopherols found in α-tocopherol, however, certain health properties have also been attributed to other forms of tocopherol and interest of these remains. It has been suggested that tocopherols could play a role in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention.

Although few studies have determined the concentration of tocopherols from soybean in a range of genotypes and environments, has not investigated the differences between various early maturing genotypes grown in multiple environments. This study allows the determination of the concentration range of tocopherols found in soybeans, but also to determine how to carry out the genotypes and compared with each other in contrasting environments. This information is vital for both breeders and growers.

Researchers at McGill University, the Center de Recherche sur les Grains, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Quebec have investigated the concentration of tocopherols and stability, with an emphasis on α-tocopherol, between the early-maturing genotypes grown in multiple environments, and determined the relationship between the concentration of tocopherols and other important seed characteristics. Their study was funded by research grants from the de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries, et de l’Alimentation Ministère du Québec (MAPAQ) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The study results are published in the September-October issue of Agronomy Journal. The research also was presented in Beijing, China in the 8th World Soybean Research Conference in August 2009.

Philippe Séguin, who led the study, said: “The great variation observed between genotypes for α-tocopherol, the high stability of genotype performance across environments, and lack of negative correlation with other important seed characteristics suggest that selection for high α-tocopherol is possible. These features also help in the development of functional foods, which requires consistency in the concentrations of health beneficial compounds.

Research is ongoing to identify the factors affecting the concentration of tocopherols from soybean. Preliminary results suggest that both specific environmental factors and management practices such as planting date, could significantly affect concentrations. Developing a better understanding of the factors that affect the concentration of tocopherols from soybean will help in developing new value added for the use of soy and thus to diversify the markets for soybean farmers.

More information: The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at

Source: American Society of Agronomy

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