Textured Soy Protein: Characteristics, Production, and Applications

Characteristics

Textured soy protein (TSP) comes in various forms such as granular, block, flake, and filamentous. It ranges in different shades of yellow-brown. Its network structure is directionally arranged to form elastic and tough fiber bundles or layers, mimicking the bite strength of carnivorous muscle tissue. Typically, textured protein contains about 60% protein.

Industrial Production Methods

  1. Extrusion Method:
  • Process: Uses defatted soybean meal as raw material. The extruder’s shear force organizes the protein, producing what is known as extruded protein.
  • Applications: This protein can serve as a base material for artificial meat or enhance meat products.
  1. Textile Method:
  • Process: Uses soy protein isolate as raw material. The manufacturing process is similar to rayon production, resulting in soy protein filamentous fiber, known as spun silk protein.
  • Applications: Can be used as a muscle fiber material for high-grade meat-like products. However, this method has not yet been industrialized on a large scale.

Benefits and Uses

Textured soybean protein transforms globulin in defatted soybean meal into silk protein and fibrin. Its good water absorption and oil retention make it an ideal additive for meat products, enhancing their color, aroma, taste, and protein content while promoting particle integrity. Additionally, its good granular structure allows it to be soaked and made into various flavored vegetarian foods. Different flavors can be added during processing to create convenience foods and snacks with diverse tastes.

Practical Uses

  1. Meat Substitute: TSP can replace pork and beef in meat products, fillings, and snack foods. It helps balance the ratio of animal and plant proteins and reduce product costs while improving quality.
  2. Preparation: Soak the product in warm water (24 times its volume) for about half an hour until it becomes soft and free of a hard core. Drain, then grind or shred as needed, mix with raw materials (e.g., pork), and process as usual.

Application Areas

  1. Food: Used in dairy foods, meat products, baked goods, pasta, seasonings, and flavor enhancers.
  2. Industrial Manufacturing: Employed in the petroleum industry, manufacturing, agricultural products, storage batteries, and precision castings.
  3. Other Products: Serves as a substitute for glycerin in perfuming, antifreeze, and moisturizing agents.
  4. Cosmetics: Found in facial cleansers, beauty creams, lotions, shampoos, and facial masks.
  5. Feed: Used in canned pet foods, animal feed, aquatic feed, and vitamin feed.
  6. Baked Products and Seasonings: Enhances flavor and aroma.
  7. Health Care and Pharmaceuticals: Acts as pharmaceutical excipients, intermediates, and extracts.

By understanding these aspects of textured soy protein, we can appreciate its versatility and significant role in both food and non-food industries.