Soybean

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Varieties of Soybeans (Glycine max).

The soybean (US) or soya bean (UK)) is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. The plant is classed as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and cheap source of protein for animal feeds and many prepackaged meals; soy vegetable oil is another product of processing the soybean crop. For example, soybean products such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) are ingredients in many meat and dairy analogues. Soybeans produce significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land.

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  • Farmers have been eager for a new generation of herbicide-resistant seeds because of the prevalence of weeds that have become immune to Monsanto’s Roundup. But skeptics are concerned that use of the new seeds and 2,4-D will only lead to similar problems as weeds acquire resistance to that chemical too.
    • M.L. Johnson, in "U.S. may deregulate some corn, soybeen seeds (4 January 2014)"
  • The ancient Asian practice of fermenting soybeans and eating soy in the form of curds called tofu makes a healthy diet from a plant that eaten almost any other way would make people ill. The soybean itself is a notably inauspicious staple food; it contains a whole assortment of "antinutrients"—compounds that actually block the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals, interfere with the hormonal system, and prevent the body from breaking down the proteins in the soy itself. It took the food cultures of Asia to figure out how to turn this unpromising plant into a highly nutritious food.
  • American farmers produced 600 more calories per person per day in 2000 than they did in 1980. But some calories got cheaper than others: Since 1980, the price of sweeteners and added fats (most of them derived, respectively, from subsidized corn and subsidized soybeans), dropped 20 percent, while the price of fresh fruits and vegetables increased by 40 percent

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