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Soybean By-Product Could be Alternative Prebiotic

Okara, also known as soy pulp or tofu dreg, is a byproduct of soybean processing that could be an alternative prebiotic, according to ongoing research being conducted by scientists at the Universities of Reading and Roehampton in the UK and the Cuidad Univesitaria in Spain.

The scientists are studying the in vitro effect of Okara on human microbiota using a 48-hour pH-controlled simulated gut model.

Prebiotics currently being sold on the market include soluble dietary fiber and inulin-derived fructans, however the industry is shifting its focus to isolating and creating prebiotics from food waste or by-products.

Okara, being an insoluble by-product has a more nutritionally complete profile than currently sold prebiotics, while also containing protein, oil, and minerals. Additionally, because it is a by-product from extraction of the soluble portion of soybeans during the production of tofu or soy milk, it is abundant and cheap. And because it has a fiber content of 55% with 51% being insoluble dietary fiber and 4.5% being soluble dietary fiber, Okara is being considered as a potential dietary aid as well.

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