Launching Development of Next-generation Soy Foods with the World's Most Advanced Processing Technology
National University Corporation, Kyoto University
Fuji Oil Co., Ltd.
Kyoto University (located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto; Juichi Yamagiwa, President) and Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture; capitalized at 13,208 million yen; listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange; Hiroshi Shimizu, President & CEO), which is developing business in oils, fats, confectionery, breadmaking ingredients, and soy protein on a global scale, are creating an industry-academia collaborative research course. Titled “Fuji Oil Soybean Renaissance Laboratory,” the course will last for the three-year period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018. Going “back to the basics of soybeans,” it will consist of in-depth research on soybeans in order to develop new processing methods and ways of bolstering components with health benefits. Its aim is the establishment of innovative technology befitting the term title “Soy Renaissance.”
In Japan, soybeans are traditional foodstuffs that are essential to the national dietary life. Almost all people are fond of tofu, and miso bean paste and soy sauce are indispensable seasonings for Japanese cuisine. In addition, soybeans contain many components that contribute to health. Viewed from a worldwide perspective, they will presumably be an important foodstuff as a quality source of food protein, whose supply is anticipated to become short in the future.
Fuji Oil has long focused on soybeans and introduced new processing technology to produce isolated soy protein and peptides, which derive from the decomposition of soy protein. It has also developed soy products that help to improve food properties and to maintain health. Behind this activity lies its conviction that soy beans will be precious foodstuffs, particularly as sources of protein nutrition, in light of the fast-paced population growth and environmental changes now under way on a global scale.
Worldwide, however, most soybeans are used only as raw materials for oils and fats; at present, there is very little use of soybeans themselves and what remains after extraction of oils and fats as foodstuffs. Besides the fact that soybeans have traditionally been considered oil and fat seeds, this is because the flavor and properties of foods made with soybeans have not been to the liking of many people.
To resolve these issues, Fuji Oil wants to go back once more to soybean basics, introduce new technology for processing them, make approaches to new markets, and endow them with new value as food. “Soy Renaissance” is its term for the global expansion of soy business and domains made possible as a result of this work.
As a step to this end, it recently succeeded in developing the Ultra Soy Separation (USS) manufacturing method, which separates soybean components without loss, and USS materials which are far superior to conventional soy foods in flavor and capable of a wide range of new applications. It views these materials as progress worthy of the term “Soy Renaissance,” and is already developing business around them.
As viewed from the global perspective, however, people who have eaten soybeans are still in the minority, and research of them as food is not extensive. Therefore, it is thought that the promotion of research on soybeans could very possibly lead to the birth of innovative food materials.
In this connection, Fuji Oil and Kyoto University decided to create the collaborative research course “Fuji Oil Soybean Renaissance Laboratory” for the purpose of in-depth research of soybeans and development of innovative soy technology. As shown in the figure below, while drawing and expanding on the store of knowledge about soybeans and soy foods from Fuji Oil’s long years of research, the course will include collaborative research with two other courses in the Kyoto University Graduate School of Agriculture for the purpose of leading-edge, scientific examinations: “Laboratory of Quality Analysis and Assessment” and “Laboratory of Molecular Functions of Food” (led by professors Yasuki Matsumura and Teruo Kawada, respectively). Its objective will be to develop technology that is innovative in each of the aspects of flavor, properties, and nutritional functions. Fuji Oil intends to promptly put the knowledge obtained through the research to practical use, which is a key point in programs of collaboration linking industry, government, and academia.
We believe these technical innovations will lead to results that truly merit the “Soy Renaissance” title, by improving the value of soybeans, increasing the demand for them, and making a vital contribution to the resolution of food supply and environmental problems in many countries and regions around the world.
Outline of the collaborative research course “Fuji Oil Soybean Renaissance Laboratory”
three-year period April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2018
on the Uji Campus of Kyoto University
Professor, Laboratory of Quality Analysis and Assessment, Agricultural Science Specialization, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
Professor, Laboratory of Food Molecular Functions, Food Biology Specialization, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
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